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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes Near Florence Alabama

Florence Alabama Nursing Assistant going over patient chart with NurseOnce 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 classes near Florence AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the United States. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you choose the ideal program to acquire the proper 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 additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

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The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Florence Alabama CNA with senior female patient in nursing home

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Florence AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Florence AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due 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.

CNA Courses

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Florence AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Florence Alabama young female student enrolled in CNA courses onlineAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Florence AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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). Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Programs

Once you have determined 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 undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Florence AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Florence AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the 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 favorable reputation within the Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out How to Become a CNA in Florence

Choose the Right Florence Nurse Assistant Program

Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Florence Alabama.


 

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