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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park AR Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Hot Springs National Park AR. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you pick the ideal program to receive the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic 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 program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a training course entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those issues as well as several other questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a CNA

Hot Springs National Park AR Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can 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
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs might also practice in Hot Springs National Park AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Hot Springs National Park AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 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 can be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Hot Springs National Park AR woman attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Hot Springs National Park AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited 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 component of any Hot Springs National Park AR medical organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the healthcare agency or facility that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically demanding, 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 profession for people who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Training Programs

What to Ask Hot Springs National Park AR CNA programsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Hot Springs National Park AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hot Springs National Park AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Hot Springs National Park AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right CNA Training

Hot Springs National Park AR Nursing Assistant with nursing home residentSelecting the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Hot Springs National Park AR.