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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Assistant Program near Jacksonville Arkansas

Jacksonville AR Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Jacksonville AR. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may seem like a daunting undertaking, it's imperative that you pick the right program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a program involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Jacksonville AR Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Jacksonville AR hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting 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
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs might also work in Jacksonville AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Jacksonville AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Jacksonville AR woman taking online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Jacksonville AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Jacksonville AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Jacksonville 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 schools you are looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Jacksonville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right CNA School

Jacksonville AR Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientEnrolling in the right certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Jacksonville AR.