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How to Choose the Best Nursing Assistant School near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL Nursing Assistant 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 searching for CNA training programs near Hoover AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the USA. Though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you select the ideal school to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before picking a training course entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin 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 CNA

Hoover AL CNA greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Hoover AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs might also practice in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired 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 mandated to receive 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 training directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with 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 can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Classes

Hoover AL student attending online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Some 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 completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Programs

Now that you have decided on 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 choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hoover 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 looking at 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 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 confirm 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 obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually 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 a working relationship with local Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best CNA School

Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Hoover AL.