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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks AK CNA taking man's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Fairbanks AK. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's imperative that you select the right school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Fairbanks AK CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks 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 instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Reading 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 practice in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people carry out daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they may 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 expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Fairbanks AK woman taking CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairbanks AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate 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 get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Fairbanks AK Nursing Assistant with nursing home residentEnrolling in the best certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.