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How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Surprise Arizona

Surprise AZ CNA taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Surprise AZ. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's essential that you select the right course to acquire the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a program requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register 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 offered.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Surprise AZ Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Surprise AZ hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Surprise AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Surprise AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Training

Surprise AZ woman taking online CNA coursesAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Surprise AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A CNA is a vital component of any Surprise AZ medical team. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and moving 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 perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

Questions to Ask Surprise AZ CNA programsOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Surprise AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check 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 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 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 relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Surprise AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA Program

Surprise AZ Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientChoosing the right certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Surprise AZ.