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How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Conway Arkansas

Conway AR CNA taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Conway AR. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the United States. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you select the best course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those issues along with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Conway AR Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Conway AR hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs may also work in Conway 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 most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Conway AR vocational or trade schools. The duration 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 mandated to receive 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 amount of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Programs

Conway AR woman attending CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Conway AR. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, 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 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. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Conway AR area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Conway AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Conway AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Conway AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA Training

Conway AR Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientSelecting the best certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical 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 produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Conway AR.