How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Prattville AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the Country. Though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you select the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental 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 program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a program requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Prattville AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs may also work in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships 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 DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to 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.
Online CNA Classes
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 Prattville 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects 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 school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prattville AL.