How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Sierra Vista Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Sierra Vista AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the Country. Although it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you select the right course to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk 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 perform many functions in the Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform 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 numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can 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
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs might also work in Sierra Vista AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Sierra Vista AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA classes online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Sierra Vista AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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). So if your work and household responsibilities 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 busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Sierra Vista AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sierra Vista 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Sierra Vista AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in 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 medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Sierra Vista AZ.