How to Choose the Right CNA School near Bessemer Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Bessemer AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the Country. Although it may seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you select the best program to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a school consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, 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 CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Bessemer AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Bessemer AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to 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 amount of instruction required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Bessemer AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical part of any Bessemer AL medical organization. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work 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 right profession for those who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with dignity and respect.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check 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 Bessemer AL 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Bessemer AL medical 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Training
Picking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Bessemer AL.