How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Mesa Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Mesa AZ. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like a daunting task, it's important that you choose the right course to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects together with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Mesa AZ hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Mesa AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they may end up being the pipeline 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 proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Mesa AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration 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 required 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 training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain 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 additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Mesa AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited 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 hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Mesa AZ area, it may assist in securing 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Mesa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Picking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Mesa AZ.