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How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Brewton Alabama

Brewton Alabama RN with physician and patientSelecting the right nursing school near Brewton AL may feel like a complicated project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to investigate before you make a decision 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 healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Brewton Alabama nurse taking care of a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Brewton AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Brewton AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 want 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees

Brewton Alabama LPN holding door for man on crutchesThere are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option 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 finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, 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.

CNA Training

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Brewton AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.

Nursing Online Classes

Brewton Alabama nurse assisting surgeon with operationEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Brewton AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Brewton AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Brewton AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Brewton 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 looking at 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Brewton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Brewton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Brewton Nursing Online Programs

Enroll in the Right Brewton Nursing Program

Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Brewton AL.



 

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