How to Find the Best Nursing Training near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Anniston AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Anniston AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing 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 normally 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.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Anniston AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with 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 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Anniston AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure 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 certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Anniston AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Anniston AL or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Anniston AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Anniston AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Anniston AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Anniston AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right Anniston Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Anniston AL.