How to Enroll In the Best CNA Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Once 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 classes near Anchorage AK. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in medical care within the USA. Even though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you pick the ideal program to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a training course requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended time periods. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education 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 prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA training online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Anchorage AK healthcare team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Anchorage AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools you are considering 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant School
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage AK.