How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Benton Arkansas
Now that 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. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you choose the best program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be considering 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 performing your due diligence prior to choosing a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Benton AR hospitals, clinics and other health 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 function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Benton AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Benton AR 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. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA training online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Benton AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with 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 opinions 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Benton AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Benton AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Training
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you choose 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 short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Benton AR.