How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes 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 training classes near Juneau AK. Once you have obtained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you select the right school to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those topics along with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Juneau AK hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Administering 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
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice 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 characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike some 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 duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills 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 sure 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 prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Juneau AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important component of any Juneau AK healthcare team. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right job for people who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial 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 decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Juneau AK area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Juneau AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain 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 mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Juneau AK.