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How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona Certified Nursing Assistant taking blood pressure of senior patientNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Oro Valley AZ. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in medical care within the Country. Though it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you select the best program to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those issues along with various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a CNA

Oro Valley Arizona CNA greeting patient with crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Oro Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

Certified Nursing Assistant Courses

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Oro Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The length 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 obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Training

Oro Valley Arizona CNA holding patient health fileEnrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Oro Valley AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. 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). And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Oro Valley AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Oro Valley AZ 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Oro Valley CNA Classes

Pick the Right Oro Valley Nurse Assistant Training

Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Oro Valley AZ.


 

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