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How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsNow that 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 training programs near Decatur AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you select the ideal program to receive the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most fundamental 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 concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a school involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you register 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 Job of a CNA

Decatur AL Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Decatur AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Programs

Decatur AL student attending online CNA coursesAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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). So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is a vital member of any Decatur AL healthcare organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under 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 medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for people who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Questions to Ask Decatur AL CNA schoolsOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether 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 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 select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and 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 sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Decatur 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 schools you are considering 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Decatur AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentSelecting the right certified nursing assistant school is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Decatur AL.