How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School 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 searching for CNA training programs near North Little Rock AR. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the USA. Although it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you choose the ideal program to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues as well as several other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the North Little Rock AR hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in North Little Rock AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at North Little Rock AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in North Little Rock AR. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any North Little Rock AR healthcare team. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, 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 challenging, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most 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 people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the North Little Rock AR area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the North Little Rock AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby North Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in North Little Rock AR.