How to Find the Right CNA Program in Juneau Alaska
Congratulations on your decision to practice as a CNA and enroll in certified nursing assistant courses near Juneau AK. Once you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the USA. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it’s imperative that you choose the right school to receive the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let’s talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Juneau AK hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they work. Per 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 supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Reading patient’s vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient’s health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in Juneau AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA’s knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Juneau AK area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. 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.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Juneau AK. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Juneau AK area community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Juneau AK area colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Juneau AK, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some Juneau AK area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Juneau AK as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree 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, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for Juneau AK area non-accredited schools.
- Certification and Licensing Preparation. Certification and Licensing criteria for nurses are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. For RN and LPN licensing in all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Juneau AK school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification or licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the Juneau AK schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 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 good reputation within the Juneau AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the Juneau AK schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA College in Juneau AK
Picking the best certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Juneau AK.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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