How to Select the Best CNA Program near Fayetteville Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Fayetteville AR. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Though it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you select the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Fayetteville AR hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Fayetteville AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to 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 CoursesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Fayetteville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 period of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fayetteville AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Fayetteville AR area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fayetteville 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 programs 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 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 superb reputation within the Fayetteville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Fayetteville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA Training
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant school is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Fayetteville AR.