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Skills for the Nursing Assistant

Online Course to Help Adult Learners Get Job Skills

USA Learns Website Now Teaches Communication Skills for Nursing Assistants


The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) in collaboration with the Health Workforce Initiative has launched a free online course entitled Skills for the Nursing Assistant. The course can be found in the USA Learns website—an award-winning, interactive adult learning site created by SCOE, which has been used by more than 14 million students and teachers worldwide.

The Skills for the Nursing Assistant course teaches language and academic skills to help students successfully communicate with patients and co-workers. Learners simultaneously practice language and basic skills, while preparing for their academic studies for careers in allied health programs. Students also practice job-related skills, such as how to safely complete all the steps involved in ambulating (walking) a patient.

The course, developed by SCOE’s Internet and Media Services Department, includes four lessons: Effective Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Communication Barriers, and Communication Strategies. Each lesson teaches listening, speaking, reading, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar, along with the job-related topics.

According to Wendy Deras, Regional Director of Employer Engagement at the Health Workforce Initiative, “The Skills for the Nursing Assistant course is a necessary program for all Certified Nursing Assistants in California. It is designed specifically for entry-level students to gain terminology and soft skills that will help them be successful.”

The videos and photos in this course were produced by SCOE at Corcoran High School in central California, where they offer a Health Science and Medical Technology program for students to learn job skills. The actors in the course are students, teachers, and volunteers from their program.

This course was a collaborative effort of several organizations. The course content was jointly created by USA Learns’ adult ESL curriculum developers and CNA teachers at Corcoran High School. California Senate Bill 70 funded content development as part of a pilot project to create distance learning resources for career technical education programs. The learning platform was upgraded thanks to funding from the Health Workforce Initiative grants in collaboration with the Statewide Director and Regional Directors of the Inland Empire / Desert, South Central Coast and San Diego / Imperial Valley regions.

This course is ideal for adult English as second language learners and basic skills learners who are studying for careers in various allied health programs. To find a training program at a California Community College near you, please visit the Health Workforce Initiative website.

Powerpoint presentation

If you have questions about USA Learns or the Skills for the Nursing Assistant course, please email