How to Pick the Best CNA School near Fort Smith Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Fort Smith AR. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a challenging endeavor, it's imperative that you select the right course to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a program entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects as well as various other questions that you should 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Fort Smith AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Fort Smith AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Fort Smith AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Fort Smith AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is a critical part of any Fort Smith AR healthcare organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of patients or residents of the healthcare agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 confirm that you get a premium education and employment in the Fort Smith AR area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Fort Smith 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 schools you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Fort Smith AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Fort Smith AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fort Smith AR.