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CNA Certification Training Classes Fort Smith AR


How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Fort Smith Arkansas

Fort Smith AR Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Fort Smith AR. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Although it may well seem like a challenging undertaking, it's essential that you select the right course to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering 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 completing your due diligence prior to choosing a school consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Fort Smith AR Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Fort Smith AR hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may 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 can also work in Fort Smith AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Fort Smith AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Classes

Fort Smith AR student taking online CNA classesAttending CNA schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fort Smith AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Courses

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Fort Smith AR area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 call some Fort Smith 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fort Smith AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Fort Smith AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Fort Smith AR.