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How to Select the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Benton Arkansas

Benton AR CNA taking patient'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 Benton AR. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you pick the right program to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a CNA

Benton AR Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Benton AR hospitals, practices and other medical organizations 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 guidance and management 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 numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading 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 Benton AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Benton AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. 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

Benton AR woman taking CNA online classesAttending CNA training online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Benton AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the Benton AR area, it may assist in securing 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.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 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 unhappy 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 Benton AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Benton AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Choose the Best CNA Training

Selecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Benton AR.