How to Choose the Right CNA Training Program near Phoenix Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's imperative that you choose the best program to obtain the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to picking a school requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead 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 primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
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 most people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate 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 acquired 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 required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the program 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 certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is a critical part of any Phoenix AZ healthcare team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure 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 prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 opinions 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 verify 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 a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix AZ.