How to Find the Right Nursing School near Chickasaw Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Chickasaw AL may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Chickasaw AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist 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 few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing 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), as an 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Chickasaw AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive 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 may 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 commonly 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.
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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, generally 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 commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, 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 any 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.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Chickasaw AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many Chickasaw AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Chickasaw AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Chickasaw AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain 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 Chickasaw AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Chickasaw Nursing College
Picking the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Chickasaw AL.