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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Bessemer Alabama

Bessemer AL Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Bessemer AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's essential that you pick the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating 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 performing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Bessemer AL Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Bessemer AL hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, 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
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Bessemer AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Bessemer AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Classes

Bessemer AL student attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Bessemer AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution 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 choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Bessemer AL medical organization. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the healthcare agency or facility that she or he works for. CNAs also help with ADLs 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 an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, 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 right profession for people who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

Things to Ask CNA Courses

What to Ask Bessemer AL CNA training programsOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 schools 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 Bessemer AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right CNA Training

Bessemer AL CNA with assisted living patientEnrolling in the right certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Bessemer AL.