How to Pick the Best CNA College near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Juneau AK. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the best school to receive the necessary training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as a few other questions that you should 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 available.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Juneau AK hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations 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 guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in Juneau AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Juneau AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must 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 own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 sure that the education 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Juneau AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary 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 evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Juneau AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ 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 enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Juneau AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 complete 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Juneau AK.