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CNA Certification Training Classes Fort Smith AR


How to Choose the Best Nursing Assistant Course near Fort Smith Arkansas

Fort Smith AR Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Fort Smith AR. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the United States. Although it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the right school to receive the proper training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Fort Smith AR Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Fort Smith AR hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs may also work in Fort Smith AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, 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 aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Fort Smith AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Fort Smith AR woman attending online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Fort Smith AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Fort Smith AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 specified 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 working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services 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 find 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 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fort Smith AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Fort Smith AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best CNA Program

Selecting the right certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Fort Smith AR.