How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Program 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 finding CNA training programs near Texarkana AR. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the best program to acquire the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Texarkana AR hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in Texarkana AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of 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 ProgramsIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Texarkana AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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 is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Texarkana AR. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. 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 work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Texarkana AR area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Texarkana 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Texarkana AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Texarkana AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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.