How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Russellville Arkansas
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Russellville AR. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you select the right course to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Russellville AR hospitals, practices and other healthcare 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 duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring 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 can also practice in Russellville 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 characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Russellville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check 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 might be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Russellville AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education and employment in the Russellville AR area, it may assist in securing 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, 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 Russellville 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Russellville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Russellville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA School
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Russellville AR.