How to Select the Best CNA College near Decatur Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Decatur AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's important that you pick the ideal program to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be contemplating 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 completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Decatur AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. As indicated by 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 prime job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 certain that the education is state approved. In addition to 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
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any Decatur AL healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for 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 daily activities 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 reports to a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
What to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 programs 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 superb reputation within the Decatur AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Decatur AL.