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Basic Nursing Assistant

Basic Nursing Assistant

Earn your certificate at Highland Community College and have a major impact on the care that patients receive. BNAs, known as CNAs after passing the state certification, assist patients with basic healthcare needs or daily living activities and help them maintain their dignity during illness or injury. Highland’s basic nurse assistant program includes classroom, lab and clinical experience.

To meet federal and state standards, attendance in class is mandatory. To receive a certificate of completion you must earn grades of “C” or better and complete 40 clinical hours. Completing the program makes you eligible for the Nurse Aide Training Competency Evaluation. Highland’s program is approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health and consists of 80 hours of theory in classroom and 40 hours of clinical experience.

Highland has a hybrid basic nursing assistant course that allows you to complete the majority of assignments and testing online while class time is limited to review of material and lab time. You do need to complete the 40 hours of clinical time within Highland’s district.

Career Field

Nursing Assistants work as caregivers in all types of health care facilities and agencies, but predominantly in long term care under the supervision of nurses. Advancement in the health care field is possible with further education.

Course work to earn a certificate is 8 hours of class time. Anyone entering the health care professions like nursing, medical assistant, and emergency medical technicians must have a positive attitude about the importance of the work they are being prepared to do. A professional attitude involves personal integrity, the use of positive communication techniques, and flexibility to be able to perform clinical assignments. Taking on a leadership role is important for the profession.

There are physical demands to be a Basic Nurse Assistant. While performing the duties of the basic nursing assistant program/job, you are regularly required to stand; walk; use your hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; talk; and hear. You are frequently required to sit, reach with hands and arms, stoop, kneel, crouch, and/or crawl. You must regularly move up to ten pounds, frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds, and occasionally lift and/or move up to 100 pounds or more.

Admission Requirements

Must be completed prior to admission

  • Candidate must be at least 16 years of age
  • Meet the required reading score
  • Attend a Basic Nursing Assistant orientation session
  • Two-step TB test or equivalent
  • Health care worker background check
  • Influenza, Hep B
  • Valid Social Security Card
  • Documentation of vaccines
  • Physical exam
  • Urine drug screen


Basic Nursing Assistant (BNA)

Program Contacts

Dr. Stephanie Eymann, DNP, RN, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, 815-599-3439
Alicia Kepner,  CMA, AAMA Coordinator, Nursing Program and Lab, 815-599-3657
Cassie Mekeel, BSN, RN, BNA Coordinator, 815-599-3685
Shelly Morgan, MSN, CMS-RN, 815-599-3727
Kay Sperry, MSN, RN-BC., 815-599-3684
Jessica Larson, MSN, RN 815-599-3452

Scholarship Opportunities