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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Avondale Arizona

Avondale AZ CNA taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Avondale AZ. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's important that you select the ideal school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Avondale AZ Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Avondale AZ hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Avondale AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved 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 aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Avondale AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program 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 certified. 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 Training

Avondale AZ student attending CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Avondale AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is an important part of any Avondale AZ medical team. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she works for. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right profession for people who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Questions to Ask Avondale AZ CNA programsOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Avondale AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Avondale 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 programs 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 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 Avondale AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Avondale AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Training

Avondale AZ Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientEnrolling in the right certified nursing assistant program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick 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 Avondale AZ.