How to Choose the Right Nursing Assistant Program near Anchorage Alaska
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Anchorage AK. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in health care within the United States. Although it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you pick the best school to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price 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 concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a program consists of much 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 addressing those topics together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting 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 aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any Anchorage AK medical organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of patients or residents of the healthcare agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
What to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary 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 important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools you are looking at 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 imperative 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 contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Anchorage AK.