How to Pick the Best Nursing Training near Guntersville Alabama
Finding the best nursing school near Guntersville AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Guntersville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary 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. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Guntersville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies 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 subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, generally 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 alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Guntersville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 certain that the training is state approved. In addition to 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 Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Guntersville AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Guntersville AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. 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 pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Guntersville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Guntersville 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Guntersville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Guntersville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Guntersville Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Guntersville AL.