How to Pick the Right CNA Program near North Little Rock Arkansas
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near North Little Rock AR. Once you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in medical care within the United States. Though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you select the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a school consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties 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 supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in North Little Rock AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may become 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 valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike 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 North Little Rock AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in North Little Rock AR. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Why Become a CNA?
A CNA is an important member of any North Little Rock AR medical organization. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the immediate care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and 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 prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the North Little Rock AR area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional 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 services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 North Little Rock 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 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 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 North Little Rock AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with local North Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA School
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in North Little Rock AR.