How to Select the Right Nursing Assistant College 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 searching for CNA classes near Anchorage AK. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Even though it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you pick the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students start 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 at home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a school requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. 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 talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain 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 three months, resulting in 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 mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 can be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Why Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical member of any Anchorage AK healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, 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 right job for people who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually 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 associations with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage AK.