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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Florence Alabama

Florence AL 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 finding CNA training classes near Florence AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the United States. Although it may seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you select the right program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a training course involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with several other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Florence AL Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Florence AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs may also work in Florence AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Florence AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Florence AL student attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Florence AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease 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 and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Florence AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Florence 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Picking the best certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose 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 certified nursing assistant in Florence AL.