How to Enroll In the Right CNA College near North Little Rock Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near North Little Rock AR. Once you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's imperative that you select the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the North Little Rock AR hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting 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 engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at North Little Rock AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in North Little Rock AR. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital member of any North Little Rock AR healthcare team. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help 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 reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and moving 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 job for people who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the North Little Rock AR area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some North 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the North Little Rock AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local North Little Rock AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Program
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in North Little Rock AR.