How to Choose a CNA Program in Unalaska Alaska
Best wishes on your decision to work as a CNA and enroll in certified nursing assistant training near Unalaska AK. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it may seem like a challenging undertaking, it’s imperative that you choose the best school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as various other questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Unalaska AK hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Taking patient’s vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient’s health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Unalaska AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged 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. Because of this, the CNA’s knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
Unlike some 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 Unalaska AK area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Other Nursing Degrees
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Unalaska AK. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Unalaska AK area community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Unalaska AK area colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing 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 needs to be Alaska approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Unalaska AK, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain Unalaska AK area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Unalaska AK as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for Unalaska AK area non-accredited schools.
- Certification and Licensing Preparation. Certification and Licensing requirements 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Unalaska AK school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification or licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the Unalaska 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 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 Unalaska AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the Unalaska AK schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA Training Classes in Unalaska AK
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant college is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Unalaska AK.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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