How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant School near Conway 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 Conway AR. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Even though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you select the ideal program to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost 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 doing your due diligence before deciding on a program requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Conway AR hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering 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
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Conway AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Conway AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Conway AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Conway AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges you are looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Conway AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Conway AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Conway AR.