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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Chandler Arizona

Chandler AZ Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Chandler AZ. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Although it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the best school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating 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 completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Chandler AZ Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Chandler AZ hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that 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 duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs can also practice in Chandler AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Chandler AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Chandler AZ woman attending online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Chandler AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program 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 component of any Chandler AZ healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend 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 healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically demanding, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Programs

Questions to Ask Chandler AZ CNA training programsNow that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Chandler AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Chandler AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 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 Chandler AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Chandler AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best CNA Program

Chandler AZ CNA with nursing home patientDeciding on the right certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Chandler AZ.