How to Pick the Right Nursing Course near Monroeville Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Monroeville AL may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Monroeville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 Degree Options
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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Monroeville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with 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 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 attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Monroeville 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. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 Courses
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Monroeville AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Monroeville AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within 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 manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Monroeville 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) along with 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 enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Monroeville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Monroeville Nursing Program
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Monroeville AL.