How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Jacksonville Arkansas
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Jacksonville AR. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the United States. Though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the best school to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a program involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Jacksonville AR hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Jacksonville AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Jacksonville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal period of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's essential 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 tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Jacksonville AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward 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 Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Jacksonville AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 looking at 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 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 contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA Program
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant school is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Jacksonville AR.