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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Training near Oneonta Alabama

Oneonta Alabama RN with physician and patientLocating the best nursing school near Oneonta AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Oneonta Alabama RN taking care of a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Oneonta AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist 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 as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Oneonta AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually 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 afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 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.

Once a graduating student has received 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 change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

LVN and LPN Training

Oneonta Alabama LVN holding door for patient on crutchesThere are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Courses

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Oneonta AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three 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 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 prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.

Online Nursing Programs

Oneonta Alabama RN assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many Oneonta AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with little 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.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Oneonta AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Oneonta 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Oneonta 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 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 Oneonta AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Oneonta AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Oneonta Nursing Accelerated Programs

Pick the Best Oneonta Nursing Program

Deciding on the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical 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 short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Oneonta AL.



 

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