Congratulations on taking the first step in your career path toward achieving your goal of becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant).
First and foremost; the school should be about the students! The goal and criteria should be about educating the student so they can provide excellent/skilled care. They are the eyes and ears of the RN or LPN who would be in charge at a facility for which they are employed. The most important goal of all—training students to provide care to those who need assistance, whether it be a long-term care facility, an assisted-living facility, group home, private home, or a hospital.
Let’s define what a CNA responsibility is and the personal characteristics that lead one to become a successful partner in the Provider arena.
Job Description Nursing assistants provide patient and resident care under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse. They assist patients and residents with activities of daily living, provide personal care and comfort, and assist in the maintenance of a safe and clean environment. OBRA and state laws direct nursing assistant functions and responsibilities. Nursing assistants perform tasks and procedures that meet hygiene safety, comfort, nutrition, exercise, and elimination needs. They assist with admitting and discharging patients and residents; make observations about patients’ and residents physical and mental status; measure vital signs, weight, and height; and promote psychological comfort. They also report and record according to agency policy.
Personal Characteristics One should have a special calling to help people, and want to work in the medical field. Students should love to care for people and have empathy for individuals who need assistance or cannot care for themselves. You should feel a sense of well being and a sense of fulfillment from helping others.
This often is the first step for student pursuing further education in the medical field, i.e., LPNs or RNs.
Today’s Health Care Environment is about having a well educated individual with superior skills that can provide the required care in a multitude of scenarios.
THE SCHOOL: What to look for: LOOK FOR THE SCHOOL THAT WILL PRODUCE THE OUTCOME AND ASSISTANCE NEEDED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. 1) The school must be Arizona Board of Nursing Approved 2) According to federal regulations, the training of nurse aides must be performed by or under the general supervision of a registered nurse, who possesses a minimum of 2 years of nursing experience, at least 1 year of which must be in the provision of long-term care facility services. Instructors must have completed a course in teaching adults or have experience in teaching adults or supervising nurse aids. 3) Visit the school to discuss the program and view the school and what your learning environment will be like. 4) Look for the opportunity to interview with the Director or Intake Coordinator and use this opportunity to ask questions. 5) The school should look like a school—caution, many programs are utilizing old buildings, second hand equipment, inadequate supplies, old and outdated audiovisual equipment and are located in inconvenient/unsafe areas, and cramped spaces. Bathrooms should be inside the school area and not down halls which are completely inconvenient for training. The clinical training site should look and feel like a hospital setting with curtains from the ceiling and personal night stands for private and personal items. 6) The typical text book should be published in the past 5 years. 7) The text should give good examples of practice standards with enough support documentation…not just the simple overview. The instructor manuals should promote active student learning. 8) The text should supply a CD for student to use when at home to review skills practiced during their clinical education at school. 9) Look for a school that works with students outside the classroom or clinical hours. This is important as students prepare for their State Board Exams. Look for the ones that do this FREE for the students. 10) State Board results should reflect student pass rates on both the written and skills of at least in the 90% range and it should also reflect that 90-100% of students pass their written and skills. Ask to see these results when visiting the schools. 11) Look for a school that is an “Approved State Board Exam site”. These schools will perform the registration for the students, and provide State result Feedback within 2 days of the exam as to pass or fail status. Most schools that provide this option have students with a 10-20% higher pass rate. They work with each and every student to ensure their success. 12) Look for the school that provides audiovisual learning aids, including computers and opportunities to use them. 13) Visit the site where the school contracts for their students to perform their clinical rotation. First clue of where NOT TO GO—smells—do you smell chemicals and perfumes to disguise odors?? 14) Look for schools that share what the tuition cost include. Will you be subject to “hidden” costs such as “uniforms”, texts, etc., etc. 15) Beware of the cheapest schools, they may not provide the best learning experiences, or may hold a poor passing rate and no follow-up with their students.