How to Find the Right Nursing Training near Clanton Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Clanton AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Clanton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Available
There are multiple degrees available 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 continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Clanton 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 job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Clanton AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Clanton AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Clanton AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Clanton AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Clanton AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Clanton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Clanton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right Clanton Nursing College
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Clanton AL.