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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Jonesboro Arkansas

Jonesboro AR Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Jonesboro AR. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the United States. Though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you select the right program to obtain the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to picking a program involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Jonesboro AR Certified Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Jonesboro AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management 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 can include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Jonesboro AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, 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 carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Jonesboro AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Jonesboro AR student attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Jonesboro AR. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education and employment in the Jonesboro AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 Jonesboro 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Jonesboro 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 obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Jonesboro AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right CNA School

Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Jonesboro AR.