How to Select the Right Nursing Assistant Classes near Tucson Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Tucson AZ. After you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's essential that you select the ideal school to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most essential 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 from home. More regarding that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Tucson AZ hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Tucson AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Tucson AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Tucson AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments 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 busy schedule.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any Tucson AZ medical team. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback 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 lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
What 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 pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Tucson AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tucson AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools 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 Tucson AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Tucson AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA School
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Tucson AZ.