How to Select the Best Nursing Assistant Program near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Anchorage AK. Once you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you pick the best school to receive the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with several other questions that you should 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Measuring 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 can also practice in Anchorage AK 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 identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, including 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 extensive time periods. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 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 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 each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Classes
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors 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 see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain 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 requirements for Alaska 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 organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Anchorage AK 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage AK.