How to Choose the Best Nursing Training near Center Point Alabama
Locating the right nursing school near Center Point AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, 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 must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Center Point AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Center Point 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 medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Center Point AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to 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.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Center Point AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Center Point AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Center Point 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Center Point AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Center Point AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Center Point AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Best Center Point Nursing Program
Choosing the right registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college 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 produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Center Point AL.