Top Nursing Assistant Schools
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services supports top nursing schools and health care education providers through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants. The 2011 HRSA Innovative Nurse Education Technologies grants recognized these institutions:
1. University of Missouri (Kansas City, Mo)
2. Duke University (Durham, N.C.)
3. The Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tenn.)
The 2010 HRSA Geriatric Academic Career Awards honored these schools:
1. University of Alabama at Birmingham
2. University of Arizona (Tucson, Ariz.)
3. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock, Ark.)
4. University of California, San Francisco
Training for nursing assistants and home health care aides
Coursework for nursing assistants varies, and graduates may need to pass an examination—depending on state licensing requirements. Nursing aides or attendants are called Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) in some states, but qualifications depend on the state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012). Employment for nursing aides and attendants is expected to grow nationally by up to 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the national average for all occupations, the BLS reports. This trend reflects the increase in the elderly population and the need for assistants in long-term care facilities.
During their training, aspiring nursing assistants traditionally learn how to provide basic patient care and perform routine clinical duties under the supervision of nursing staff. Nursing aides and nursing assistants perform a vital function in health care; they help patients with daily living activities and also measure vital signs. In nursing homes, these professionals may be the main caregivers for residents.
Below are some of the courses available for health care professionals such as nursing assistants and patient care technicians.
In nursing assistant schools, students may learn how to perform health care functions such as moving patients; assisting patients with bathing, grooming and dressing; and changing linens. Administrative training shows students how to answer telephone inquiries, schedule patient appointments, greet patients, perform patient intakes, record and update medical records, and perform hospital admissions. The training varies according to the state and the program; certification candidates may likely learn additional basic medical procedures.
Patient Care Technician
Patient care technicians (PCTs) may learn how to assist health care providers in basic functions needed for patient care and comfort. Programs typically include CPR and first aid and may require an externship. Classes focus on clinical skills, such as phlebotomy (collecting blood), performing EKGs, taking and recording vital signs, use of catheters and other instruments, and dressing changes.
Home Health Aide
Home health aides are trained to assist bedridden, convalescent and elderly patients in daily routine grooming, bathing and dressing. Under the direction of a physician or nurse, the home health aide may record vital signs, administer oral medications or change surgical dressings. Certified home health aides typically study personal hygiene, nutrition and infection control as well as basic safety techniques and how to respond to emergencies. Training requirements vary by state, the BLS reports (BLS.gov, 2012).
Unlike home health aides, personal care aides -- also called caregivers or personal attendants -- do not provide medical care, the BLS notes. Training for home health aides involves housekeeping tasks, for example, cooking for patients with special needs. The BLS projects high demand (up to 70% employment growth) for home health aides and personal care aides between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).
Personal Support Worker
Personal support specialists, also called personal support workers (PSWs), also provide in-home personal care; this terminology is often used in Canada. PSW training potentially teaches students to be responsible for the overall health, safety and wellbeing of the patient, and to act as the patient's liaison with family members, insurance companies, government agencies and medical providers. Specialized PSW training examines palliative care, which helps specialists deliver end-of-life care and caregiver support. Courses could include coping with loss and grief, communication, symptom management, conflict management and ethics.
Search for nursing assistant schools through SchoolsGalore.com
At the top of the page, select a program or degree to find training for CNAs as well as home health aides, patient care technicians and personal support workers. Schools should be accredited by organizations that are approved by authorities such as the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Bureau of Labor Statistics (Home Health and Personal Care Aides)
Bureau of Labor Statistics (Nursing Assistants)
Health Resources and Services Administration (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
Mohawk College (Palliative Care Certificate)
Mohawk College (Personal Support Worker)