How to Find the Best Nursing Assistant College near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that 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 Fairbanks AK. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the Country. Although it may well seem like a challenging undertaking, it's important that you choose the right school to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a program consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Many 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 convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 considering 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 dissatisfied 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA Program
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.