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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Southside Alabama

Southside Alabama Nursing Assistant taking blood pressure of senior patientOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Southside AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a daunting task, it's essential that you select the right program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those issues as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Southside Alabama Nursing Assistant helping patient with crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Southside AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Southside AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

Certified Nursing Assistant Programs

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Southside AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Southside Alabama Nursing Assistant holding patient health fileAttending CNA schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Southside AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Southside AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Southside 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Southside AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Southside AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Southside CNA Courses

Enroll in the Right Southside Nurse Assistant School

Choosing the best certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Southside AL.


 

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