How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Birmingham 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 Birmingham AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right school to receive the necessary training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with several 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Birmingham AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs may also work in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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). Therefore if your work and family obligations 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 active schedule.
Why Become a CNA?
A CNA is a critical component of any Birmingham AL medical organization. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with ADLs 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 reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically demanding, 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 like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Birmingham 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 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 favorable reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA School
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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 Birmingham AL.