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How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa AL CNA taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Tuscaloosa AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the Country. Though it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a school consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Tuscaloosa AL Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just 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 instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with 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 certain that the education 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 might be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Tuscaloosa AL woman attending CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital component of any Tuscaloosa AL healthcare organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. 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, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Questions to Ask Tuscaloosa AL CNA training programsOnce you have selected 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 choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tuscaloosa 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Tuscaloosa AL CNA with nursing home residentSelecting the best certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Tuscaloosa AL.