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How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Course near Opelika Alabama

Opelika AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that 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 classes near Opelika AL. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the Country. Even though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you choose the best school to obtain the necessary training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most fundamental 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 program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you register 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 Role of a Nursing Assistant

Opelika AL CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Opelika AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs might also practice in Opelika AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Opelika AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Opelika AL student attending online CNA coursesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A CNA is a critical component of any Opelika AL medical team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. 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 each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare 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 most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Questions to Ask Opelika AL CNA training programsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and 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 before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Opelika 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Opelika AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientPicking the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Opelika AL.