How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant College near Phoenix 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 Phoenix AZ. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Though it might seem like a daunting task, it's important that you pick the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a program involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs might 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 identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also 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 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.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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). So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin 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 decrease 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 and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with 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 judgements 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Picking the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Phoenix AZ.