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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing College near Atmore Alabama

Atmore Alabama nurse with doctor and patientLocating the right nursing program near Atmore AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Atmore Alabama RN taking care of a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Atmore AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

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

Nursing Degrees Available

There are several degree options offered 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 just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Atmore AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

LVN and LPN Programs

Atmore Alabama LPN greeting man using crutchesThere are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Certificates

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Atmore AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 instruction mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education 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 might be other prerequisites as well.

Nursing Online Classes

Atmore Alabama nurse assisting surgeon in operating roomAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Atmore AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Atmore AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Atmore AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Atmore 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 programs 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Atmore AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Atmore AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Atmore Nursing Accelerated Programs

Pick the Right Atmore Nursing Degree Program

Picking the right registered nursing school is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Atmore AL.



 

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