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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert AZ CNA taking patient's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Gilbert AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in health care within the United States. Although it may seem like a daunting task, it's important that you choose the ideal school to receive the proper training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Gilbert AZ CNA assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Gilbert AZ hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

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

CNAs may also work in Gilbert AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Gilbert AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Gilbert AZ woman attending CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Gilbert AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Gilbert AZ medical 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 medical facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, 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 job for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Gilbert AZ CNA schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, 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 reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Gilbert AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 performed, 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 practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gilbert 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 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 favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with local Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA Training

Gilbert AZ CNA with nursing home patientPicking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Gilbert AZ.