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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Benton Arkansas

Benton AR CNA taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Benton AR. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the USA. Though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the right program to obtain 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 price of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll 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 Certified Nursing Assistant

Benton AR Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Benton AR hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision 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 responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Benton AR 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 characterized as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Benton AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial 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 tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Classes

Benton AR woman taking online CNA trainingAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Benton AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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). And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe 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 CNA is a vital member of any Benton AR medical team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she works for. 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, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, 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 perfect job for those who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Training Programs

Questions to Ask Benton AR CNA programsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Benton AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified 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 requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Benton AR 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Benton AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Benton AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right CNA School

Benton AR CNA with nursing home patientChoosing the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to 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 within this content, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Benton AR.