How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant School near Phoenix Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Phoenix AZ. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's important that you select the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating 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 doing your due diligence prior to choosing 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 consideration. We will be covering those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
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 defined as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they can become 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 knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA training online is becoming 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 virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure 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 factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with 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. In addition, check with 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 assessments 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 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 good reputation within the Phoenix AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Phoenix AZ.