How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant School near Hot Springs Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Hot Springs AR. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you pick the right school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a school requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues along with several 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Hot Springs AR hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Hot Springs AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Hot Springs AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Hot Springs AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 job and household commitments have left you with limited 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.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the Hot Springs AR area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Certain 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 outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hot Springs 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hot Springs AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Hot Springs AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA Training
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Hot Springs AR.