How to Select the Best Nursing School near Demopolis Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Demopolis AL may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Demopolis AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Demopolis AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative 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 supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Demopolis 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. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part 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 practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Demopolis AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program 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, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Demopolis AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease 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 along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Demopolis AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 performed, 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 prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Demopolis 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 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 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 Demopolis AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Demopolis AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Demopolis Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Demopolis AL.