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

East Florence Alabama nurse with physician and patientSearching for the best nursing program near East Florence AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

East Florence Alabama RN taking care of a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely East Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degree Options

There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the East Florence AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN Courses

East Florence Alabama LPN holding door for man on crutchesThere are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should 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.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at East Florence AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with 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 Degrees

East Florence Alabama RN assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many East Florence AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited 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 hectic schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near East Florence AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose 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 most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help 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 are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with 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 judgments 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the East Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with East Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About East Florence Nursing Accelerated Programs

Select the Right East Florence Nursing Program

Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in East Florence AL.



 

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