How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Training near Hoover Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Hoover AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Hoover AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Hoover AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Hoover AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the training program 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 contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Hoover AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Hoover AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Hoover 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, 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 Hoover 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 schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Hoover Nursing Degree Program
Choosing the right registered nursing program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hoover AL.