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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Little Rock Arkansas

Little Rock AR CNA taking man's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Little Rock AR. Once you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you choose the best program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a program requires far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Little Rock AR Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Little Rock AR hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Little Rock AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Little Rock 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 required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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.

CNA Online Classes

Little Rock AR woman taking online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Little Rock AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program 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 a vital part of any Little Rock AR healthcare organization. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist 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 works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for people who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Courses

What to Ask Little Rock AR CNA schoolsNow that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Little Rock AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Little Rock AR healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Little Rock AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA Program

Little Rock AR CNA with nursing home residentPicking the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Little Rock AR.