How to Choose the Right Nursing Course near Madison Alabama
Selecting the best nursing school near Madison AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Madison AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered 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 two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Madison 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 healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher 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 allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter 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 guarantees that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Madison AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Madison AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Madison AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Madison 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Madison 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 finish 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Madison AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Madison AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Best Madison Nursing College
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Madison AL.