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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Benton Arkansas

Benton AR Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow that 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 classes near Benton AR. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you pick the ideal school to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a school involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with several 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Benton AR Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Benton AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might 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 helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Benton AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Benton AR 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 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 minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Benton AR woman taking CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Benton AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Training Classes

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Benton AR area, it may assist 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 completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check 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 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Benton AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Benton AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Benton AR.