When you’re dressing for your first day of CNA class, there isn’t a lot to stress about. You’re just starting out, and the focus is on dressing comfortably and practically. But when the day comes to face the big, bad exam, it isn’t just about learning and practicing anymore. What you wear to your CNA exam should reflect who you are—a real CNA.


Dressing for the job starts with your scrubs. Scrubs allow for maximum mobility and ease of movement. More importantly, they show your proctor that you’re taking the test as seriously as you would take a real patient. Additionally, there’s a lot of research documenting the psychology of “dressing the part.” Namely, when we wear the appropriate clothes for the task we are doing, it enhances our motivation, focus, and confidence.


If you haven’t walked the beats at a clinical, you may not already have dedicated nursing shoes. Although special shoes aren’t necessary, this is a good time to invest in some. Look for professional sneakers or clogs with good arch support and non-slick soles. Just remember, it takes time to break new shoes in. Be sure to buy them in advance and wear them around for a week or two before the clinical. Your feet will thank you.


In other occupations, wearing a little jewelry to an interview process is a good idea. In the CNA world, these accessories just get in the way. On the day of the exam, make sure to leave large earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets at home. The one exception to the rule is a wristwatch. It’s a crucial addition to your nursing ensemble for taking vital signs like your patient’s heart rate.


Hopefully, the idea of taking a shower before your nursing exam doesn’t surprise you; however, some of the benefits behind it might. Taking a cold shower in the morning increases the brain’s production of the hormone norepinephrine, which increases your focus and energy throughout the day. And when you’re out of the shower, don’t forget to tie your hair back if it’s long.

When you go to take your Florida Prometric CNA test, there will be a lot running through your mind, and clothes may be the least of your concern. But remember, you’ve done the training, so you know your stuff. And when you decide what you should wear to your CNA exam, all you’re doing is making your outsides reflect what you are on the inside—a certified nursing assistant.