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How to Pick the Right CNA Course near Northport Alabama

Northport AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Northport AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you select the best program to receive the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Northport AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Northport AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping 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 practice in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to 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 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must 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 crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies 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 education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Programs

Northport AL student taking CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical component of any Northport AL healthcare team. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically demanding, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening 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 people while treating them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Programs

Questions to Ask Northport AL CNA schoolsNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Northport AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Northport AL CNA with assisted living patientPicking the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Northport AL.