How to Choose the Best Nursing Assistant Classes near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Juneau AK. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in health care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you select the right program to receive the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential 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 regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program 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 covering those topics along with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Juneau AK hospitals, clinics and other health care 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 function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing 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
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Juneau AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Juneau AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Juneau AK. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Juneau AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick 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.