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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Jacksonville Arkansas

Jacksonville AR Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow 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 finding CNA classes near Jacksonville AR. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Though it may seem like a challenging task, it's important that you select the right school to receive the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price 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 about that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics along with various other questions that you should 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Jacksonville AR Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Jacksonville AR hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Jacksonville AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Jacksonville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 requirements as well.

Online CNA Classes

Jacksonville AR student taking online CNA trainingAttending CNA programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn 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 specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any Jacksonville AR medical organization. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare agency or facility that he or she works for. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right profession for people who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

What to Ask CNA Courses

Questions to Ask Jacksonville AR CNA training programsOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout 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 workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely 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 prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Jacksonville AR area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check 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 judgements 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Jacksonville AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Training

Jacksonville AR Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentDeciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Jacksonville AR.