How to Choose the Right Nursing Training near Albertville Alabama
Searching for the best nursing program near Albertville AL may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Albertville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Albertville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Albertville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some Albertville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Albertville AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Albertville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Albertville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Albertville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Albertville Nursing College
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Albertville AL.