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How to Select the Right CNA Program near Auburn Alabama

Auburn AL CNA taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Auburn AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the Country. Even though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you select the ideal course to acquire the necessary 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 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 alternative later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register 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 Certified Nursing Assistant

Auburn AL Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Auburn AL 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 direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping 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 work in Auburn AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships 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 Diplomas

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Auburn AL vocational or trade schools. The duration 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 required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Classes

Auburn AL student taking CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Auburn AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is a vital member of any Auburn AL healthcare team. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical agency or facility that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Auburn AL CNA training programsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Auburn AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 call some Auburn AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Auburn AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA School

Auburn AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentChoosing the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Auburn AL.