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How to Find the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Paragould Arkansas

Paragould AR CNA taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Paragould AR. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you select the best school to receive the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating 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 doing your due diligence before picking a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Paragould AR CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Paragould AR hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Paragould AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out 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 prolonged time frames. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Paragould AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also 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 training course is state certified. As well as 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 Schools

Paragould AR student attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Paragould AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Paragould AR area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Paragould 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Paragould AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. 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 too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Paragould AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Paragould AR.