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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff AZ Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Flagstaff AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you select the ideal program to acquire the proper training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a training course involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those topics together with various other questions that you should 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a CNA

Flagstaff AZ Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary 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 recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education 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 requirements as well.

Online CNA Training

Flagstaff AZ woman attending online CNA trainingAttending CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Flagstaff AZ healthcare organization. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their 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 job for those who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Questions to Ask Flagstaff AZ CNA schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Flagstaff AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Best CNA School

Flagstaff AZ Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentEnrolling in the best certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Flagstaff AZ.