How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Conway Arkansas
Once 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 training classes near Conway AR. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the right school to obtain the proper training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a program consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, 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
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Conway AR hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight 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 responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Conway AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Conway AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 period of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Conway AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations 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 hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether 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 necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with 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 before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Conway AR area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Conway 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 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 superb reputation within the Conway AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Conway AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Conway AR.