How to Find the Right Nursing Course near Atmore Alabama
Searching for the right nursing college near Atmore AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, 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 need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Atmore AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn 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 commonly a 2 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
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 time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth 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 warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Atmore AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 mandated to receive 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 period of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary 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 certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Atmore AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Atmore AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary 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 along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Atmore AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find 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 opinions 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 Atmore AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Atmore AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Atmore Nursing College
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Atmore AL.