How to Find the Best CNA College near Hot Springs Arkansas
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Hot Springs AR. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you choose the best school to acquire the necessary 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 pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a school involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Hot Springs AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations 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 direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs may also work 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 identified as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Hot Springs AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Hot Springs AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning 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 minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it more convenient 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 AR medical team. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Hot Springs AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch 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 assessments 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 unhappy 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 Hot Springs AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Hot Springs AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Hot Springs AR.