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How to Choose the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Northport Alabama

Northport AL Nursing Assistant taking patient'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 training programs near Northport AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it may seem like a challenging task, it's important that you choose the best school to receive the appropriate training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues as well as a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Northport AL CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Northport AL hospitals, practices and other health 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 guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs might also work in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure 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 recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Classes

Northport AL student attending CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is a critical member of any Northport AL healthcare team. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

What to Ask Northport AL CNA training programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 Northport AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Northport AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientChoosing the ideal certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Northport AL.