How to Pick the Best Nursing Degree Program near Meridianville Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Meridianville AL may feel like a complicated 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 need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Meridianville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Meridianville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 desire 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 typically a two year program after achieving 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 acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Meridianville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must 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 prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Meridianville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Meridianville AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Meridianville 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Meridianville 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 programs 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Meridianville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Meridianville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Find Out More About Meridianville Nursing Colleges
Pick the Right Meridianville Nursing School
Choosing the right registered nursing school is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Meridianville AL.
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