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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College near Surprise Arizona

Surprise AZ CNA taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Surprise AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Even though it might seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential that you choose the ideal course to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a school entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Surprise AZ Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Surprise AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Surprise AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Surprise AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Surprise AZ student attending online CNA trainingAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Surprise AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Should You Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical part of any Surprise AZ healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency 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 safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right profession for people who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with dignity and respect.

Questions to Ask CNA Colleges

What to Ask Surprise AZ CNA training programsOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Surprise AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 Surprise 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Surprise AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Surprise AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right CNA Program

Surprise AZ Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientSelecting the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Surprise AZ.