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How to Find the Best Nursing Program near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster Alabama RN with doctor and patientChoosing the best nursing program near Alabaster AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Alabaster Alabama nurse taking care of a senior patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Alabaster AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees

Alabaster Alabama LVN holding door for man using crutchesThere are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Programs

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Alabaster AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 may be additional requirements as well.

Online Nursing Classes

Alabaster Alabama nurse assisting surgeon in operating roomEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Alabaster AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Alabaster AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alabaster AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Alabaster Nursing Training Programs

Enroll in the Best Alabaster Nursing Program

Selecting the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Alabaster AL.



 

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