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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL CNA taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Decatur AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a complicated task, it's important that you pick the right program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a CNA

Decatur AL Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Decatur AL hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit 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 preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 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 minimum amount of training required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Training

Decatur AL woman attending online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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). And so if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Decatur AL healthcare organization. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen 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 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 strenuous, 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 right job for people who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Questions to Ask Decatur AL CNA training programsOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • 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 too. In addition, get in touch 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 schools 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 essential 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 contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. 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 also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best CNA Training

Decatur AL CNA with nursing home patientSelecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you choose a CNA school 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 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Decatur AL.