How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Mesa 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 Mesa AZ. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you pick the right course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many future 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 program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a program involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with several 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 available.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Mesa AZ hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Administering 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
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Mesa AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Mesa AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential 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 recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Mesa AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary 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 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Mesa AZ area, it may help in securing 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Mesa 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant School
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Mesa AZ.