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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama

Vestavia Hills AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Vestavia Hills AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you pick the right course to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a CNA

Vestavia Hills AL CNA assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. As indicated by 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 role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs might also practice in Vestavia Hills AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, for example 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 periods of time. Often, they can end up being 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 a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Vestavia Hills AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure 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 suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. As well as 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

Vestavia Hills AL student attending CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Vestavia Hills AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little 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.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is a vital component of any Vestavia Hills AL medical team. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work 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 profession for people who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Vestavia Hills AL CNA programsOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly 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 prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Vestavia Hills AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, 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 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 favorable reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA Training

Vestavia Hills AL Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientPicking the right certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 certified nursing assistant in Vestavia Hills AL.