How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant School near Mesa Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Mesa AZ. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the best course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a school involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those issues as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Mesa AZ hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. As indicated by 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. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs may also work in Mesa AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Mesa AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with 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 sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Mesa AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require 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 option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of 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 economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital member of any Mesa AZ healthcare organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports 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 strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work 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 perfect profession for those who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Mesa AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check 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 Mesa 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Mesa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Training
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. 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 pointed out within this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 Mesa AZ.