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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Athens Alabama

Athens AL Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Athens AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the Country. Even though it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you pick the right program to receive the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Athens AL CNA assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Athens AL hospitals, clinics and other medical 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 work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion 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 requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Training

Athens AL woman attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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). So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is an important part of any Athens AL healthcare organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. 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, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically demanding, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Programs

What to Ask Athens AL CNA programsOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in acquiring 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.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 programs 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 favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best CNA Program

Athens AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientSelecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Athens AL.