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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Prichard Alabama

Prichard Alabama CNA reading blood pressure of male patientOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Prichard AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Though it may well seem like a complicated task, it's important that you pick the ideal school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start 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

Prichard Alabama Nursing Assistant assisting patient on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Prichard AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Prichard AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

Certified Nursing Assistant Diplomas

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Prichard AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Training

Prichard Alabama Nursing Assistant holding patient health chartEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Prichard AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Prichard AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with 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 organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Prichard AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Prichard AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Prichard AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Prichard CNA Programs

Pick the Right Prichard CNA School

Picking the right certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Prichard AL.


 

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