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How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Paragould Arkansas

Paragould AR Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsOnce 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 Paragould AR. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in health care within the United States. Though it may seem like a challenging undertaking, it's essential that you choose the right course to receive the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a program entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Paragould AR Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Paragould AR hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can 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 assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Paragould AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Paragould AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Classes

Paragould AR student taking CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more favored way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Paragould AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps 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 Paragould AR healthcare organization. In fact, medical 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 comfortable and safe. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for people who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Questions to Ask Paragould AR CNA training programsOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many 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 discussed, the site of the school and 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 final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 obtain an excellent education and employment in the Paragould AR area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Paragould 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Paragould AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Paragould AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant School

Paragould AR Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientPicking the best certified nursing assistant college is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Paragould AR.