How to Choose the Right Nursing Program near Millbrook Alabama
Choosing the best nursing college near Millbrook AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Millbrook AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
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 just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Millbrook AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to 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 core curriculum properly 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 instruction can be acquired at Millbrook AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Millbrook AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Millbrook AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start 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 important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Millbrook AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. 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 readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Millbrook 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 programs you are considering 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Millbrook AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Millbrook AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Millbrook Nursing College
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Millbrook AL.