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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near East Florence Alabama

East Florence Alabama nurse with doctor and patientFinding the best nursing school near East Florence AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

East Florence Alabama nurse taking care of a senior patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as East Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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.

Nursing Degree Options

There are multiple degrees available 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the East Florence AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further 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 mandates.

LPN Programs

East Florence Alabama LPN greeting patient on crutchesThere are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at East Florence AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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. 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

East Florence Alabama RN assisting surgeon with operationEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain 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 performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many East Florence AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near East Florence AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in East Florence 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. Some states require a specific 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at 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 too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some East Florence 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the East Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with East Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About East Florence Nursing Schools

Select the Right East Florence Nursing College

Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when choosing 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 content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in East Florence AL.



 

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