How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant School near Phoenix Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. After you have attained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the Country. Although it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential that you pick the ideal course to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a program involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance 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 responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, 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 help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Phoenix 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 colleges you are considering 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best CNA School
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix AZ.