How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant School near Hoover Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Hoover AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the right course to receive the proper training and education. Many prospective 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 at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a training course requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those issues together with 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Hoover AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Hoover AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost 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 ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards 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, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 assessments 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Hoover AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Hoover AL.