How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant School near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Fairbanks AK. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may seem like a challenging endeavor, it's important that you choose the right school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a training course requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you should 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike 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 Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 minimum amount of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA classes online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other 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 household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize 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 reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 Fairbanks 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you pick 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 produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.