The process for granting nurse aide credentials is one of the principal mechanisms established by the passage of the nursing home reform provisions of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA) for ensuring provision of improved quality of care in nursing homes participating in the Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement programs. It defines a “nurse aide” as any individual providing nursing or nursing-related services to residents in a facility who is not a licensed health professional, a registered dietitian, or someone who volunteers to provide such services without pay. Nurse Aides do not include those individuals who furnish services to residents only as paid feeding assistants.
The eligibility requirements for nurse aide training are that the candidate must not be a registered sex offender or have committed a crime involving a child or incapacitated adult, and cannot be listed on an abuse registry in any state in the United States. There are no maximum education requirements such as high school diploma or GED, however, the training or hiring facility may have a policy that includes education requirements.
Please note that the West Virginia Nurse Aide Program does not certify or license nurse aides but maintains a registry listing consisting of all actively registered nurse aides within the state and that nurse aides in the State of West Virginia are referred to as “Registered Long Term Care Nurse Aides” not “Certified Nurse Aides” or “Licensed Nurse Aides”.
The West Virginia Nurse Aide Program has set a minimum standard of hours that an individual must complete prior to being eligible to sit for the state exam. The minimum hours that a Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP) can offer in the State of West Virginia is one hundred twenty (120). This must include classroom, lab and hands on clinical hours in a certified nursing facility. The classroom and lab education must consist of at least sixty-five (65) hours, and clinical training must consist of a minimum of fifty-five (55) hours. A NATCEP must last a minimum of four (4) weeks and while any NATCEP may extend their program hours and time frame, at no given time can the instructor teach fewer hours than those for which the NATCEP is approved.
LPN and RN nursing students are allowed to skip training and challenge the state exam. A nursing student must have successfully completed the Fundamentals of Nursing with a “C” average or higher, and successfully completed a minimum of thirty-two (32) hours of clinical experience in a certified nursing facility in order to be granted the training exemption.
Those who finish training and are eligible to test, are allotted a two (2) year grace period and three (3) opportunities to pass the competency evaluation. If a candidate does not pass the exam within the two year grace period or has not successfully passed by the third attempt, the individual must take a new training program before being allowed to attempt the state exam again.