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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Prattville Alabama

Prattville AL CNA taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Prattville AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it may seem like a challenging endeavor, it's important that you pick the right course to acquire the proper training and education. Many 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 considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a training course involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you should 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Function of a CNA

Prattville AL CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Prattville 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. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Taking 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 areas

CNAs may also practice in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training 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 contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. 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 prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Prattville AL woman attending online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for 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 option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is an important component of any Prattville AL healthcare team. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist 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 rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

Questions to Ask Prattville AL CNA training programsOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many 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 readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right CNA Training

Prattville AL CNA with nursing home residentPicking the best certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose 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 Prattville AL.