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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL CNA taking man's blood pressureNow that 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 Hoover AL. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you pick the best school to acquire the proper training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a school involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Hoover AL CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Hoover AL hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Hoover AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary 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 recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Hoover AL student taking online CNA coursesAttending CNA programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical part of any Hoover AL healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the healthcare agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, 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 lifting, positioning, 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 love to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Hoover AL CNA schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hoover 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 looking at 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 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 superb reputation within the Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA Training

Hoover AL CNA with nursing home residentDeciding on the right certified nursing assistant college is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Hoover AL.