How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Juneau Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Juneau AK. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the Country. Even though it may seem like a challenging undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a school entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those topics along 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 offered.
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The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Juneau AK hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management 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 duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Juneau AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extensive 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. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Juneau AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Juneau AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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). So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Juneau AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Juneau AK 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 programs you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Juneau AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Juneau Nurse Assistant School
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Juneau Alaska.