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How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Prattville Alabama

Prattville AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce 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 Prattville AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a daunting task, it's important that you select the ideal program to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a program requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues as well as a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Prattville AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Prattville AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Prattville 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 characterized as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they can end up being the conduit 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

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need 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 one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 amount of training required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Prattville AL woman taking CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of 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 workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 contact some Prattville 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Prattville AL CNA with assisted living patientPicking the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prattville AL.