How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Vestavia Hills AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the Country. Even though it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you select the right program to receive the proper training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Vestavia Hills 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 work under the direction and oversight 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 varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs may also work in Vestavia Hills AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Vestavia Hills AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Vestavia Hills AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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 household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Vestavia Hills AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 call some Vestavia Hills 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 programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant School
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Vestavia Hills AL.