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How to Choose the Right CNA Program Near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks Alaska CNA going over patient file with NurseOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Fairbanks AK. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you pick the right school to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a program requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues along 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 Job of a CNA

Fairbanks Alaska Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in assisted living facility

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities 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. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. 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 most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 education 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 may be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Training

Fairbanks Alaska young female student taking CNA training onlineEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, 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 field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Fairbanks AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

More on How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA in Fairbanks

Pick the Right Fairbanks Nurse Assistant Training

Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks Alaska.


 

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