How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near Attalla Alabama
Finding the best nursing college near Attalla AL may seem like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Attalla AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role 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 along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Attalla AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after obtaining 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 earned 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 education can be obtained at Attalla AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 period of instruction directed and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Courses
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Attalla AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Attalla AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Attalla AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Attalla 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 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 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 superb reputation within the Attalla AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Attalla AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Attalla Nursing College
Choosing the right registered nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Attalla AL.