How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Anchorage AK. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Though it might seem like a challenging task, it's important that you choose the ideal course to obtain 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 also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a program involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can 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 defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly 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 final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 performed, 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 requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with 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 judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs you are looking at 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 confirm that the school has a superb 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 ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Anchorage AK.