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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa AZ Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Maricopa AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you choose the ideal program to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before picking a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Maricopa AZ CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Maricopa AZ hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Maricopa AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they may become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike many 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 duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure 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 recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Maricopa AZ woman taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Maricopa AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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 family obligations 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 active schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is a critical component of any Maricopa AZ healthcare organization. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Maricopa AZ CNA schoolsOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly 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 so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive 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 criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges 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 unhappy 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 Maricopa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best CNA Training

Maricopa AZ CNA with nursing home residentChoosing the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Maricopa AZ.