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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley AZ Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Oro Valley AZ. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you select the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally 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 completing your due diligence before selecting a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Oro Valley AZ CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus 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 environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Oro Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Oro Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. As well as 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 Training

Oro Valley AZ woman attending online CNA classesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Oro Valley AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any Oro Valley AZ healthcare team. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with 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 eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. 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 Training Classes

What to Ask Oro Valley AZ CNA programsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. 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 choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Oro Valley AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, 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 requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 Oro Valley 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Oro Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best CNA Training

Oro Valley AZ Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientChoosing the best certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Oro Valley AZ.