How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Phoenix Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you choose the best school to obtain 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 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 option later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a school involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Phoenix 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 characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as 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.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent 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 evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Phoenix 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 schools 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix AZ.