How to Enroll In the Right CNA College near Texarkana Arkansas
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Texarkana AR. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you pick the ideal school to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before picking a program requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Texarkana AR hospitals, practices and other medical 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 perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And 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 environment might include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Texarkana AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Texarkana 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. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. 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 schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Texarkana AR. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Texarkana AR area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Texarkana 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Texarkana AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Texarkana AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Texarkana AR.