How to Choose the Best CNA Training Program near Springdale Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Springdale AR. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you choose the best course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a training course entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those subjects as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Springdale AR hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Springdale AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Frequently, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Springdale AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Springdale AR. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary 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 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 hectic schedule.
Should You Become a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital component of any Springdale AR medical organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work 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 perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
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 checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous 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 workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Springdale AR area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Springdale 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 schools you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Springdale AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Springdale AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Nurse Assistant School
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in 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 medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select 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 certified nursing assistant in Springdale AR.