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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Russellville Arkansas

Russellville AR CNA taking man's vital signsNow that 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 Russellville AR. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you select the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with 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 training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Russellville AR Certified Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Russellville AR hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Russellville AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Russellville AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Schools

Russellville AR student taking online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Russellville AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to 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. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education and employment in the Russellville AR area, it may help in acquiring 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.  Some states require a specific 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 preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 colleges 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Russellville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Russellville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA School

Russellville AR Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientDeciding on the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Russellville AR.