How to Pick the Best CNA School near Opelika Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Opelika AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you select the right program to receive the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a school consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register 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 offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Opelika AL hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Opelika AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, such as 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 periods of time. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Opelika AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in 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 minimum amount of training directed and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Why Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important part of any Opelika AL healthcare organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, 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 challenging, including positioning, lifting, and transferring 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 perfect profession for people who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many 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 manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Opelika 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA School
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Opelika AL.