How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School 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 programs near Anchorage AK. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you choose the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before picking a training course consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transporting 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 involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is an important part of any Anchorage AK healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.
What to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides 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 internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, 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 schools 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Picking the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school 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 select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage AK.