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How to Select the Right CNA Program near Muscle Shoals Alabama

Muscle Shoals Alabama CNA reading blood pressure of male patientNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Muscle Shoals AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you pick the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Muscle Shoals Alabama CNA helping patient with crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs can also practice in Muscle Shoals AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

Certified Nursing Assistant Certificates

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Muscle Shoals AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Classes

Muscle Shoals Alabama Nursing Assistant holding patient health fileAttending CNA schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Muscle Shoals AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education and employment in the Muscle Shoals AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Muscle Shoals AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Muscle Shoals CNA Training

Choose the Best Muscle Shoals Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Muscle Shoals AL.


 

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