How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Albertville Alabama
Searching for the right nursing school near Albertville AL may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Albertville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Albertville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at Albertville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many Albertville AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Albertville AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Albertville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, 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 preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Albertville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Albertville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Albertville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Albertville Nursing Degree Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Albertville AL.