How to Select the Right Nursing Assistant Program near Fort Smith Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Fort Smith AR. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the Country. Though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you choose the right program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a training course involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Fort Smith AR hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing 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
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Fort Smith AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Frequently, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Fort Smith AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and every 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 also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Fort Smith AR. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any Fort Smith AR healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that he or she works for. 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 member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, 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 right job for those who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably 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 selection measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Fort Smith AR area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Fort Smith AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Fort Smith AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fort Smith AR.