How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant School near West Memphis Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near West Memphis AR. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you select the ideal school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering 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 doing your due diligence prior to choosing a program requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the West Memphis AR hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in West Memphis AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at West Memphis AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA training online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in West Memphis AR. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the West Memphis AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some West Memphis 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the West Memphis AR medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local West Memphis AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA School
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted 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 healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in West Memphis AR.