How to Select the Right CNA School near Hot Springs Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Hot Springs AR. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like a challenging endeavor, it's essential that you choose the best program to receive the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating 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 selecting a program entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with several other questions that you should 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 available.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Hot Springs AR hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Hot Springs AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Hot Springs AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets 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 education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Hot Springs AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number 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 practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, 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 choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the Hot Springs AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hot Springs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Hot Springs AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Hot Springs AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Hot Springs AR.