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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL CNA taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Decatur AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the Country. Although it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you select the best course to receive the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a CNA

Decatur AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Decatur AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Decatur AL woman taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical member of any Decatur AL healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely 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 medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

Things to Ask CNA Courses

Questions to Ask Decatur AL CNA programsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Decatur 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 programs you are looking at 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 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 Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Best CNA Program

Decatur AL CNA with assisted living patientChoosing the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Decatur AL.