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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Kenai Alaska

Kenai Alaska Nursing Assistant taking blood pressure of male patientOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Kenai AK. After you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you choose the right program 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 cost of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Kenai Alaska Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient with crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Kenai AK hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that 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 function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Taking 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 rooms

CNAs may also practice in Kenai AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Kenai AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure 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 certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Courses

Kenai Alaska Certified Nursing Assistant holding patient health fileAttending CNA training online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Kenai AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Training Classes

Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Kenai AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Kenai AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Kenai AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Kenai AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Kenai CNA Training

Enroll in the Best Kenai Nurse Assistant School

Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in 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 healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Kenai AK.


 

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