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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Mobile AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it might seem like a challenging task, it's important that you select the ideal program to obtain the proper 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 additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a school entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with various 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 available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Mobile AL hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction 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 duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading 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 areas

CNAs may also work in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Mobile AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Classes

Mobile AL student taking CNA online classesAttending CNA training online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Should You Become a CNA?

A CNA is a critical part of any Mobile AL medical team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living 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, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

Questions to Ask Mobile AL CNA training programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Mobile AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Mobile 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 considering 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 favorable reputation within the Mobile 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 acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right CNA Program

Mobile AL CNA with nursing home patientChoosing the right certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Mobile AL.