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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Conway Arkansas

Conway AR Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Conway AR. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Though it might seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you select the best course to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Conway AR Certified Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Conway AR hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs might also practice in Conway AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Conway AR vocational or trade schools. The duration 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 obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the training course 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 additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Conway AR student attending online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Conway AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest 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. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments have left you with very 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.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have chosen 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 choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Conway AR area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Conway AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Conway AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best CNA Training

Selecting the best certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Conway AR.