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How to Select the Right Nursing Assistant College near Homewood Alabama

Homewood AL CNA taking man's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Homewood AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you select the ideal course 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 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 from home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with various 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Homewood AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Homewood AL hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Homewood AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Homewood AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Homewood AL student attending online CNA coursesAttending CNA schools online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Homewood AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Should You Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important part of any Homewood AL medical team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with daily activities 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 works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Questions to Ask Homewood AL CNA training programsNow that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Homewood AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Homewood 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Homewood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Homewood AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Training

Homewood AL CNA with assisted living residentPicking the right certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Homewood AL.