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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise AL CNA taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Enterprise AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the Country. Although it may seem like a challenging undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the ideal program to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be debating 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 before deciding on a school involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those issues as well as a few 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 instruction and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Enterprise AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Enterprise AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they work. 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 direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment 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 aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Enterprise AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extended time periods. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Enterprise 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Training

Enterprise AL student attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA classes online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Enterprise AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. 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 school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Programs

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education and employment in the Enterprise AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides 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. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Enterprise 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Enterprise AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Enterprise AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Enterprise AL CNA with nursing home patientDeciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Enterprise AL.