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How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Alabaster AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's essential that you pick the right program to acquire the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential 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 course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a training course requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Alabaster AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may 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 assisting patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs might also practice in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Alabaster AL 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. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have 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 prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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 may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Classes

Alabaster AL woman attending CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Alabaster AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital component of any Alabaster AL healthcare organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also help with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs

What to Ask Alabaster AL CNA training programsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Alabaster AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 speak with some Alabaster 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 programs 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Alabaster AL CNA with nursing home patientEnrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Alabaster AL.