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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near South Tucson Arizona

South Tucson Arizona CNA taking blood pressure of male patientOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near South Tucson AZ. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you select the best school to obtain the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a training course entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects together with various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

South Tucson Arizona Nursing Assistant assisting patient with crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the South Tucson AZ hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in South Tucson AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at South Tucson AZ 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. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Courses

South Tucson Arizona CNA holding patient medical chartEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in South Tucson AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education and employment in the South Tucson AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some South Tucson AZ 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 schools 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 favorable reputation within the South Tucson AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby South Tucson AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About South Tucson CNA Courses

Pick the Best South Tucson CNA School

Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in South Tucson AZ.


 

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