How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Apache Junction Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Apache Junction AZ. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a complicated task, it's essential that you choose the right school to receive the proper 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 may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you should 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 Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Apache Junction AZ hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Apache Junction AZ 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, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Apache Junction AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential 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 suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Apache Junction AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Apache Junction AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at 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, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Apache Junction AZ 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 colleges you are looking at 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 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 Apache Junction AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Apache Junction AZ.