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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant Classes near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix AZ CNA taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the United States. Even though it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential that you choose the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be debating 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 doing your due diligence before picking a training course consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Phoenix AZ CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the training 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with 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.

CNA Online Programs

Phoenix AZ woman attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training 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 call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical part of any Phoenix AZ medical team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible 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 is employed by. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically challenging, 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 like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with dignity and respect.

Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Questions to Ask Phoenix AZ CNA programsOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first 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 selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares 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 each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 judgements 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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 requirements 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 Right Nurse Assistant Program

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant with nursing home residentSelecting the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Phoenix AZ.