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New English Vocabulary Practice for CNAs Lesson Added to USA Learns

Posted on 04/21/2022

Screenshot of Sample Vocabulary page

Are you looking for free online instruction to teach adult learners in allied health programs? Good news – USA Learns just added a new lesson to their Skills for the Nursing Assistant course entitled English Vocabulary Practice for CNAs.

The new English Vocabulary Practice for CNAs lesson teaches vocabulary that may be included on the state exam and includes topics related to physical care skills, psychosocial care skills, and the role of the nurse aide. In the lesson, students can:

  • learn key vocabulary words and their definitions
  • practice sentences using the key words
  • listen to the vocabulary words, definitions, and sentences, and
  • answer sample multiple choice test questions that utilize the words.

Why was this new lesson created? It all started several months ago when Wendy Deras, the Regional Director of the Health Workforce Initiative (HWI) in the Inland Empire / Desert region, and Andrea Willis, Director of USA Learns, were chatting about USA Learns' Skills for the Nursing Assistant course. The conversation went something like this:

Wendy: "I've been teaching CNA classes at the community college for more than 20 years. One thing I've noticed is that many of my students struggle with some basic English vocabulary, which makes it difficult for them to pass the state CNA exam and be successful on the job. In fact, I've been keeping a list of vocabulary words that they struggle with."

Andrea: "Really, you have a list? [Looked at list.] Wow, this list of 125 words is great and would make an amazing new lesson for the Skills for the Nursing Assistant course!"

Upon obtaining funding, USA Learns' staff, which are housed at the Sacramento County Office of Education, worked with nursing and adult ESL subject matter experts to develop the content, searched for and prepared the images, recorded audio files, and entered the new content into USA Learns' custom learning management system.

How was this new lesson funded? Funding kindly came from two Health Workforce Initiative (HWI) grants directed by Wendy Deras of the Inland Empire / Desert region and Laurie Sienkiewicz of the Orange County region.
This new lesson is a nice complement to the original lessons in the Skills for the Nursing Assistant course, which include:

  • Effective Communication
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Communication Barriers
  • Communication Strategies

The Skills for the Nursing Assistant course includes not only a learner side, but also a teacher side. Students register on the site to save their scores, continue studying where they left off, and communicate with their teacher. They can also practice speaking by recording their voice, writing by getting immediate feedback, along with doing all the other activities that USA Learns provides. Teachers can also monitor students' progress, track scores, and view time spent by creating a free account and courses on the USA Learns teacher site.

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

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.