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How to Find the Right Nursing Course near Eufaula Alabama

Eufaula Alabama nurse with doctor and patientFinding the right nursing college near Eufaula AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Eufaula Alabama RN talking to a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Eufaula AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist 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 as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine 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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Eufaula 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 job in nursing in medical facilities 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) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 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.

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 vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

LVN and LPN Programs

Eufaula Alabama LPN greeting patient using crutchesThere are generally two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Programs

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Eufaula AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation 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 requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

Nursing Online Classes

Eufaula Alabama RN assisting surgeon in operating roomAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Eufaula AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Eufaula AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within 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 manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Eufaula 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Eufaula 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 colleges 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Eufaula AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Eufaula AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Eufaula Nursing Training Programs

Enroll in the Best Eufaula Nursing Degree Program

Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Eufaula AL.



 

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