How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Phoenix Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's essential that you pick the ideal program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many prospective 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 regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a school involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues as well as a few 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.
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The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting 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
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity 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.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for 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 sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Phoenix AZ 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 colleges you are looking at 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phoenix AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Phoenix Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix Arizona.