How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Pine Bluff AR. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you pick the ideal course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 offered.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Pine Bluff AR hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities 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 function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Pine Bluff AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Pine Bluff AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to 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.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Pine Bluff AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Pine Bluff AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Pine Bluff 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 colleges 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pine Bluff AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Pine Bluff AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA School
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Pine Bluff AR.