Guest Poster

    This post was written by Robin Gosdin, RN, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program Director and Instructor at Cleburne Independent School District (ISD), which is in Cleburne, Texas. She began teaching students in 1990 and has experience in nursing and long-term care.

    At the beginning of each school year, I greet a new group of CNA students. I introduce them to their program and curriculum, outlining the state skills they will be assessed on for their certification, as well as the additional skills they will practice in the simulation lab.

    State skills are written on a white board, color-coded based on resources required (manikin, group, etc.), and remain in full view in the lab throughout the school year. We write skills again on an adjacent board as they are practiced, showing students how much they’re learning beyond the state’s requirements.

    Communicating these skills clearly and frequently helps students stay on-task, retain information, understand their teacher’s commitment, and feel fulfilled.

    1. Students’ seriousness – Reminding students about certification requirements keeps them on-task every day. They see the value in their work and give their all during class to be better prepared during exams.
    2. Students’ retention – Public speaking courses say it best. The key to retention is to tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, tell it, then remind them what you told them. Students remember information better when they’ve been informed prior to and reminded after learning a skill.
    3. Instructor commitment- As instructors, we always want what’s best for our students. We want them to pass their exams and become successful professionals. By keeping our workload on full display, we illustrate our commitment to their learning and retention.
    4. Students’ fulfillment – High schoolers have it rough. Between classes, part-time jobs, family, and social lives, they can get stressed out. Showing them how much they are learning can give them the confidence and sense of accomplishment needed to keep going when things get rough.

    Our CNA program has graduated countless students. Many of them go on to be productive professionals in the healthcare field. Transparency is one crucial teaching strategy that helps them make that transition.

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    Pictured above: Cara Callaway*, science teacher from Cleburne ISD; Robin Gosdin, RN, and author of this post; Terry Kitchen, Regional Territory Manager for Pocket Nurse, who can be reached at

    Editor's Note: Contact Pocket Nurse to talk about outfitting your simulation lab with the equipment you need to prepare your students. Our Sales Team is comprised of experts who can help you set up your students to succeed! Contact our Customer Service team at

    Correction: Cara Callaway was misidentified when we originally posted this article. We apologize for the error.