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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Jacksonville Arkansas

Jacksonville AR Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Jacksonville AR. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's essential that you select the best school to receive the necessary training and education. Many future 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 from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with a few other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Jacksonville AR CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding 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 engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Jacksonville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 amount of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Jacksonville AR woman taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA classes online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Jacksonville AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually 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 option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Jacksonville AR area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 speak with some Jacksonville AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 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 verify 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 gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best CNA Training

Selecting the right certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose 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 CNA in Jacksonville AR.