How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Maricopa Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Maricopa AZ. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you choose the right school to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic 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 at home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics along with several 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Maricopa AZ hospitals, practices and other health care facilities 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 oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Reading 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 areas
CNAs might also work in Maricopa AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Maricopa AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with 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 sure that the education 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 prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Training
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Maricopa AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Maricopa AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments 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 Maricopa 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Maricopa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, 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 exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Maricopa AZ.