How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Pleasant Grove AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you choose the best program to receive the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a school involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Pleasant Grove AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Pleasant Grove AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Pleasant Grove AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Pleasant Grove AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household 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.
What to Ask CNA Training Classes
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Pleasant Grove AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 specified 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 preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, 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 call some Pleasant Grove 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 colleges you are considering 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Pleasant Grove AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Pleasant Grove AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Pleasant Grove Nurse Assistant Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Pleasant Grove AL.