How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Assistant College near North Little Rock Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near North Little Rock AR. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you choose the ideal school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of 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 course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a program requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those topics along with a few other questions that you need to 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 training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the North Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management 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 duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in North Little Rock AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at North Little Rock AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with 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.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in North Little Rock AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin 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 workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the North Little Rock AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, 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 North Little Rock 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 colleges you are considering 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the North Little Rock AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local North Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA School
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in North Little Rock AR.