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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Dothan Alabama

Dothan AL Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Dothan AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you choose the best course to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price 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 concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Dothan AL Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Dothan AL hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Dothan AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Dothan AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimal period of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to 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 Training

Dothan AL student taking CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital member of any Dothan AL healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with activities of daily living 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, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right profession for those who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

What to Ask Dothan AL CNA schoolsOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Dothan AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, 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 contact some Dothan AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges 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 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 good reputation within the Dothan AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Nurse Assistant School

Dothan AL CNA with nursing home residentEnrolling in the best certified nursing assistant program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Dothan AL.