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How to Choose the Best Nursing Degree Program near Forestdale Alabama

Forestdale Alabama RN with physician and patientSelecting the best nursing school near Forestdale AL may feel like a challenging 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 must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Forestdale Alabama RN talking to a senior patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Forestdale AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular 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:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

There is more than one degree option 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Forestdale AL area.

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

Once a graduating student has attained 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

LVN and LPN Training

Forestdale Alabama LPN holding door for man using crutchesThere are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, usually 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 alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Programs

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Forestdale AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

Online Nursing Schools

Forestdale Alabama nurse assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Forestdale AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work 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 active schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Forestdale AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Forestdale AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Forestdale 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Forestdale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Forestdale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Forestdale Nursing Colleges

Pick the Best Forestdale Nursing Degree Program

Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Forestdale AL.



 

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