How to Choose the Best CNA Program near San Tan Valley Arizona
Now that 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 San Tan Valley AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the Country. Though it may well seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you choose the best school to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects as well as various other questions that you should 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 training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs may also practice in San Tan Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at San Tan Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in San Tan Valley AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps 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 a critical member of any San Tan Valley AZ medical team. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the San Tan Valley AZ area, it may assist in acquiring 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some San Tan Valley 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 schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select 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 San Tan Valley AZ.