How to Select the Right CNA Program near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Flagstaff AZ. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you select the best course to receive the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a school involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 training directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is a critical member of any Flagstaff AZ healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs 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, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right profession for those who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona 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 earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial 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 programs.
- 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Flagstaff AZ 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Flagstaff AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with local Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA Training
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects 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 economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Flagstaff AZ.