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How to Pick the Best Nursing School near Oneonta Alabama

Oneonta Alabama RN with doctor and patientSelecting the best nursing school near Oneonta AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Oneonta Alabama nurse talking to a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Oneonta AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing 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), as an example, 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 common 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 attend 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 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Oneonta AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

LPN Programs

Oneonta Alabama LPN greeting man on crutchesThere are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, 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 course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Training

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Oneonta AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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. 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 Degrees

Oneonta Alabama nurse assisting surgeon in operating roomAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Oneonta AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Oneonta AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Oneonta 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Oneonta 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 colleges 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Oneonta AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Oneonta AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Oneonta Nursing Training Programs

Select the Best Oneonta Nursing College

Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Oneonta AL.



 

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