How to Find the Best CNA College near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Pine Bluff AR. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the United States. Although it might seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you pick the right program to obtain the appropriate 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 may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those topics together with several other questions that you should 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Pine Bluff AR hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead 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 duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in Pine Bluff AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships 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 CertificatesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training 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 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Pine Bluff AR. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. 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 classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is a critical component of any Pine Bluff AR medical team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Pine Bluff AR area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Pine Bluff 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 schools you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Pine Bluff AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Pine Bluff AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA Program
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Pine Bluff AR.