How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Ketchikan Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Ketchikan AK. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you choose the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics along with several other questions that you should 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 Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Ketchikan AK hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care 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
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Ketchikan AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Ketchikan AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimal period of training directed and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates 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 training online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Ketchikan AK. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. 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 selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Ketchikan AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Ketchikan AK 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 looking at 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Ketchikan AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Ketchikan AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Ketchikan Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA college 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 create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Ketchikan AK.