How to Select the Best Nursing College near Lanett Alabama
Locating the right nursing college near Lanett AL may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Lanett AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Lanett AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Lanett AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Lanett AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Lanett AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. 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 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Lanett AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Some 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 enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Lanett 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 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 good reputation within the Lanett AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Lanett AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Lanett Nursing Degree Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lanett AL.