How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College near Gilbert Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Gilbert AZ. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you select the right school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Gilbert AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Gilbert AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. 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 sure that the education is state approved. In addition to 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 Programs
Attending CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Gilbert AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Gilbert AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements 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. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Gilbert 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 colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Gilbert AZ.