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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Paragould Arkansas

Paragould AR Nursing Assistant taking man'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 classes near Paragould AR. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it may seem like a complicated task, it's essential that you pick the best program to acquire the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential 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 program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a school involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Paragould AR Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Paragould AR hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather 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 prime job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs may also work in Paragould AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships 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 Certificates

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have 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 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Classes

Paragould AR student attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Paragould AR. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Paragould AR area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 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 programs you are considering 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 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 superb reputation within the Paragould AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Paragould AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Choose the Best CNA School

Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both 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 pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Paragould AR.