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How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Hoover AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential that you choose the ideal school to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a training course involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a CNA

Hoover AL Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Hoover AL hospitals, practices 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 guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Hoover AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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.

CNA Online Classes

Hoover AL woman taking CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand 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 nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, 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 to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 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 schools 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 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 favorable reputation within the Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training

Hoover AL CNA with nursing home residentEnrolling in the right certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Hoover AL.