How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant College near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Flagstaff AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a difficult undertaking, it's essential that you select the best program to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing 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 also be taken into account. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register 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 Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimal period of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with 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.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with 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.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical part of any Flagstaff AZ healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of residents or patients of the healthcare agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work 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 perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 speak with some Flagstaff 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 considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm 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 attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a CNA school 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 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Flagstaff AZ.