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How to Choose the Right Nursing School near Chickasaw Alabama

Chickasaw Alabama nurse with doctor and patientChoosing the best nursing college near Chickasaw AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Chickasaw Alabama RN talking to a senior patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Chickasaw AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty 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 specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

There are multiple degrees 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Chickasaw AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

LVN and LPN Training

Chickasaw Alabama LPN greeting patient on crutchesThere are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice 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 complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Programs

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Chickasaw AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

Nursing Online Courses

Chickasaw Alabama RN assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many Chickasaw AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Chickasaw AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the price 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 pick 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 get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Chickasaw AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 call some Chickasaw 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 schools you are looking at 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 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 favorable reputation within the Chickasaw AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually 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. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Chickasaw AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Chickasaw Nursing Accelerated Programs

Pick the Best Chickasaw Nursing Degree Program

Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Chickasaw AL.



 

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