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How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Northport Alabama

Northport AL Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Northport AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like a complicated task, it's important that you select the best program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a training course entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics as well as 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 type of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Northport AL CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Northport AL hospitals, clinics and other health care 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 direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving 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 defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may end up being 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 beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one 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 period of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Training

Northport AL student attending CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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). So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Should You Become a CNA?

A CNA is an important part of any Northport AL healthcare organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. 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 the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically demanding, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work 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 profession for those who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Courses

Questions to Ask Northport AL CNA schoolsOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • 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 too. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Northport AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Northport AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientChoosing the right certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Northport AL.