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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant College near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Mobile AL. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you choose the right program to receive the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering 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 doing your due diligence before deciding on a program involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Mobile AL Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Mobile AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. 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 direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

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

CNAs can also work in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being 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 knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to many 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 three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Mobile AL woman attending CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Should You Become a CNA?

A CNA is a critical member of any Mobile AL medical organization. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right profession for people who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with dignity and respect.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

What to Ask Mobile AL CNA programsOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether 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 many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense 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 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Mobile 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.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check 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 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 good reputation within the Mobile AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • 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 prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best CNA Program

Mobile AL CNA with nursing home residentPicking the right certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Mobile AL.