How to Select the Right Nursing Training near Monroeville Alabama
Selecting the best nursing college near Monroeville AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain 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 ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Monroeville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact 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
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer 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 available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Monroeville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced 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 qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 2 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 earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Monroeville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure 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. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Monroeville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Monroeville AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Monroeville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Monroeville 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Monroeville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Monroeville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Monroeville Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Monroeville AL.