If you would like to start a new, rewarding career in the healthcare sector, but don’t think you have the time for school, you may want to look into taking CNA classes online.
Like most people, you probably think that it’s impossible to train for a new career while trying to balance work, your children, and the other important responsibilities you already have. But, by enrolling in an online Certified Nursing Assistant program, you will be able to move forward toward your dream of becoming a CNA without putting your entire life on hold and missing some of those precious moments.
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CNA Classes Online – Studying to Work as a Certified Nursing Assistant
There are several steps that you must take in order to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant. You will need to complete an accredited training program and pass a nursing aide competency examination in order to earn your CNA certification. Once you have earn your credential, you will be qualified to be listed in your state’s nurse’s aide registry, and be able to seek employment as a nurse aide. Believe it or not, all of this can be completed in less than 3 months which makes this a true fast-track way to start a new career in healthcare. You can find more information on this site on how to earn your CNA credential.
Prep for CNA Certification Online
Whichever of the online programs you choose, the curriculum will be basically the same. The goals of these classes are to help you gain the skills necessary according to the job description of a certified nursing assistant which in turn will give you the basic knowledge to pass the first half of the competency examination. Some of the topics covered by your online classes include:
- Basic Patient Care and Safety Procedures
- Proper Hygiene Procedures and Infection Control
- Patient Rights and Medical Ethics
- Communication and Medical Terminology
- Record Keeping and Documentation
- Patient Transport, Movement and Safety
- Observation and Treatment of Common Ailments
- Proper Ways of Taking and Recording Patient Vital Signs
As previously mentioned, CNA online classes will help you prepare for the first part of the competency exam. The second part of the exam covers practical skills which are covered more in a hands-on environment or an internship. Most online programs today will help you find an internship to help you with this portion of the training.
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Topics Covered in CNA Training Programs
As mentioned in the previous section and illustrated in the table above, there are eight primary fields of study in most nursing assistant programs. A closer look at each follows.
Basic Patient Care and Safety
The majority of nurse assisting training focuses on basic patient care and safety. This area of study teaches students how to properly assist patients with the following activities:
- Bathing and showering
- Catheter care
- Comfort care
- Dressing and changing clothing and bandages, wraps, etc.
- Administering heat and ice packs
- Basic dental hygiene
- Identifying and communicating patient needs
- Changing bed linens
- Lifting, positioning and moving patients
- Encouraging and motivating patients
The safety portion of the course will focus on learning how to identify potential safety issues in the patient’s environment. These can range from objects and substances, to potential hygiene problems.
Proper Hygiene Procedures and Infection Control
Students should also expect to spend a lot of their study time learning about proper hygiene procedures and infection control. These two areas are closely related, but also differ in several key ways.
Proper hygiene procedures for a CNA are necessary to protect not only the nurse aide, but the patient as well. They typically include:
- Frequent hand washing
- Proper disposal of soiled linens and dressings
- Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Infection control involves both identifying and treating infection in a patient. Students learn to look for fevers, coughs, discharges, and other signs of infection. They additional learn the proper procedures for dealing with infection.
Patient Rights and Medical Ethics
The core curriculum for most CNA classes includes a section on patient rights and medical ethics. Students will learn what a patient’s bill of rights is, why it’s important, and how it is applied in their work.
Programs also devote study time to teaching students about the CNA code of ethics. This area deals with the nursing assistant’s responsibility for providing patients with care that is ethical, competent, knowledgeable, and caring. The importance of maintaining a patient’s dignity is also discussed.
Communication and Medical Terminology
The importance of clear, effective communication is covered by nursing assistant training programs. In addition to providing examples of how this affects patient care, students often participate in role-playing and other exercises that help develop their skills.
As a caregiver, it is important for the nursing assistant to have a basic understanding of common medical terminology. This includes being familiar with the medical names for different parts of the body, commonly-used abbreviations, and terms that refer to procedures and describe conditions.
Record Keeping and Documentation
It goes without saying that keeping accurate, current records and documentation is a critical part of the CNA’s job. Nursing assistant programs spend a considerable amount of class time teaching students what to document, as well as the proper procedures for doing this.
Themes stressed by most classes include:
- Logging the date, time and author of every entry in a document
- Writing in a legible manner
- Accuracy and objectivity of observations reporting
- Using the proper annotations and abbreviations for your facility
Patient Transport, Movement and Safety
Because many nurse aides will be asked at some point to assist with the transportation or movement of a patient, students should expect to study this in their class. Courses train the proper techniques for doing this efficiently and, most-importantly, safely.
Demonstrations are usually performed by instructors (these may be done with videos in online CNA classes). Being able to demonstrate a mastery of these skills is also something that is expected of students by the end of their training. Expect to dedicate hours of hands-on training to developing this skill.
Observation and Treatment of Common Ailments
Identifying common illnesses and conditions in a patient is one of the primary responsibilities of the certified nursing assistant. As a result, a significant amount of class time is dedicated to teaching students how to do this.
Courses focus on the symptoms for common ailments, and how to apply the proper process for identifying them. Instruction is also provided on how the CNA can determine if the ailment is something he or she can treat (e.g. a common cold), or if it should be elevated to an RN or doctor.
Proper Ways of Taking and Recording Patient Vital Signs
With so much of the caregiver’s job dedicated to observing and recording the patient’s condition, learning how to properly take vital signs is crucial.
Vital signs can usually be broken down into three primary categories: temperature, pulse and respiration. Different instruments are used to read each, and the way each is recorded differs as well.
What are the Prerequisites to Enroll?
While there are few prerequisites to enroll in online programs, there are some that you may have to take into consideration. We recommend that you contact the training program you are considering and ask them for a full list of requirements but here are some of the most common.
- High School Diploma or a GED
- Birth Certificate Proving You Are at Least 18 Years Old
- Clean Criminal Background Check
- Immunization Record and Free of Communicable Diseases such as Tuberculosis
- Placement or Admissions Test, if requested
What Should I Look for in an Online Program?
When you are ready to pick out which of the CNA online programs you would like to attend, you should make your decision based on a few requirements. The most important of these requirements is accreditation. You must make sure that your chosen program has been either approved by your state’s Board of Nursing or has accreditation from a national organization such as National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
The accreditation of the program is vital since it will give you the eligibility to take the state competency exam. Plus, it will help you transfer your credits in case you make the decision to go back and train for a different healthcare position.
Some other areas to check that may be helpful when picking out online programs you would like to attend include:
- Reputation of the Program
- Job Placement Opportunities
- Percentage of Students Passing the NNAAP
- Employment Success of Alumni
- Online Reviews by Former Students
Learn more about each of these areas below.
Reputation of the Program
One of the first things to consider when looking at a CNA program is its reputation. How do you review the reputation of a school, you may ask? A good place to start is with its accreditation status.
As discussed earlier on this page, any nursing assistant classes you take should be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or your local state board of nursing. Schools that are accredited have met state or national standards for their curriculum, staff and facilities.
In the case of most nurse aide training programs, you’ll likely find that your state board is the accrediting body.
Job Placement Opportunities
Another important thing to investigate is whether or not the program offers assistance with job placement.
Many training programs have relationships with local hospitals, clinics, private practices, and home care agencies. Because of these relationships that often assist graduates who earn their certifications with placement in positions with these employers.
Percentage of Students Passing the NNAAP
You may also want to consider the pass rate on the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) for graduates from each program. The NNAAP is standardized exam given to applicants for nursing assistant certification all across the U.S.
Schools who have a proven track record of graduating students who pass this exam usually offer good training and preparation.
Employment Success of Alumni
If possible, it is also a good idea to find out how many alumni of the program are currently employed in the community. This is information that the school should be able to provide, and should be proud to share with prospective students.
You may also do some research on your own and reach out to alumni for advice and feedback on the program.
Online Reviews by Former Students
In this age where we make so many decisions based on reviews from customers, it’s only natural to also apply this approach to finding a CNA school. Student reviews can provide valuable insight into the pros and cons of attending the school, to some of the intangibles surrounding the program that you may not have considered.
Begin Your New Career Today!
Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant has a lot of going for it right now. Currently there is an overwhelming demand for more certified nursing assistants with a projected growth of over 300,000 jobs over the next decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not to mention that certified nursing assistants rank as one of the top paid positions not requiring at least a two-year degree. These are very positive signs that with a little bit of training and some passion to help others, you can find yourself in a very rewarding and much needed career in the matter of weeks.
We hope that this site will provide you with all the tools necessary to start your training to become a CNA. For your convenience we have a way to search for accredited CNA classes online in the upper right hand corner of this page. Throughout this site, you will find up to date information on salary, certification and a whole lot more. Thank you for taking the time to visit CNA Online Programs and we wish you success in your future career!
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