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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona

Prescott Valley AZ Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Prescott Valley AZ. After you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Though it may seem like a daunting task, it's important that you choose the ideal school to receive the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a program requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Prescott Valley AZ CNA greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics 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 management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Providing 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 areas

CNAs can also practice in Prescott Valley 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 perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Prescott Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Training

Prescott Valley AZ student taking online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Prescott Valley AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to 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 reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any Prescott Valley AZ healthcare team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she works for. CNAs also help with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their 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 profession for those who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Training Programs

What to Ask Prescott Valley AZ CNA programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Prescott Valley AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 call some Prescott Valley 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training

Prescott Valley AZ CNA with assisted living patientEnrolling in the best certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Prescott Valley AZ.