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How to Select the Best CNA School near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL Nursing Assistant taking patient'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 Mobile AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the United States. Even though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating 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 completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics together with several 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Mobile AL CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Mobile AL hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they work. As indicated by 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 assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Mobile AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets 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 sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Classes

Mobile AL woman taking online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is a vital component of any Mobile AL healthcare team. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, 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 right job for people who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Questions to Ask Mobile AL CNA schoolsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Mobile AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy 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 each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA Program

Mobile AL CNA with nursing home patientSelecting the ideal certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Mobile AL.