How to Choose the Best Nursing Assistant College near Prescott Valley Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in 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 obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a challenging undertaking, it's imperative that you select the best course to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a program consists of far 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 topics together with various 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Prescott Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Prescott Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Prescott Valley AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Classes
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist 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 necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Prescott Valley AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 good reputation within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. 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
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prescott Valley AZ.