How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Jacksonville Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Jacksonville AR. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you choose the best school to receive the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost 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 on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a program entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Jacksonville AR hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs may also work in Jacksonville AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Jacksonville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain 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 additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Jacksonville AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Jacksonville AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Jacksonville 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 programs 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Jacksonville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA Training
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Jacksonville AR.