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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you select the best school to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a program entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Checking 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 areas

CNAs may also work in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain 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 just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Classes

Phoenix AZ woman taking online CNA coursesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Many 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 center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital component of any Phoenix AZ healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Schools

What to Ask Phoenix AZ CNA schoolsNow that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from 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 oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right CNA School

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientEnrolling in the best certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Phoenix AZ.