How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College near Flagstaff Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Flagstaff AZ. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you select the best program to obtain the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues along with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimal period of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain 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 suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain 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 may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Some schools will require attendance 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 balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact 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 opinions 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Flagstaff AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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 Flagstaff AZ.