How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant Program near Prescott Arizona
Now that 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 AZ. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's essential that you select the best program to obtain 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 might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a program entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Prescott AZ hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Prescott AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Prescott AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Prescott AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue 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.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Prescott 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 differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prescott 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Prescott AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Prescott AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Picking the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Prescott AZ.