How to Choose the Right Nursing Assistant School near Dothan Alabama
Once 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 classes near Dothan AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right school to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering 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 doing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those issues as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Dothan AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might 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
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Dothan 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 defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Dothan AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Dothan AL medical organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, 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 medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, 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 right job for those who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Dothan AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Dothan 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Dothan AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Dothan AL.