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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Athens Alabama

Athens AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Athens AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the Country. Though it might seem like a complicated task, it's important that you choose the best program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with several other questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Athens AL Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Athens AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

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

CNAs can also practice in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Classes

Athens AL woman attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental 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). Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is an important component of any Athens AL medical organization. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of patients or residents of the medical agency or facility that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time 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 while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Athens AL CNA programsOnce you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specified 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 satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Athens 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Athens AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentPicking the ideal certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 Athens AL.