How to Pick the Right CNA College near Jonesboro Arkansas
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Jonesboro AR. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you choose the right course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental 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 program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register 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
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Jonesboro AR hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Jonesboro AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Jonesboro AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Jonesboro AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is a critical part of any Jonesboro AR healthcare organization. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right profession for those who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Jonesboro AR area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. Some states require a specified 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 satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 contact 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate 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 gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. 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 a working relationship with local Jonesboro AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best CNA Training
Picking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Jonesboro AR.