How to Choose the Right Nursing Assistant Program near Eagle River Alaska
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Eagle River AK. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it might seem like a challenging task, it's important that you select the best school to receive the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register 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 offered.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Eagle River AK hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Eagle River AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Eagle River AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 sure that the training 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 may be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Eagle River AK. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Eagle River AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Eagle River 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Eagle River AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Eagle River AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Eagle River AK.