How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant Program near Fairbanks 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 classes near Fairbanks AK. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the Country. Though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you select the ideal course to obtain the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those issues as well as a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, practices and other medical 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 perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining 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 Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 mandated to obtain 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 period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 certain that the training 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 may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant school is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.