How to Pick the Right Nursing Course near Ozark Alabama
Locating the right nursing college near Ozark AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to look into before you make a decision 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 care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Ozark AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
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 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Ozark AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice 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 complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides 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 kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Ozark AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost 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 method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many Ozark AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as 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 pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Ozark AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Ozark 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at 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 also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Ozark AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Ozark AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Ozark AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right Ozark Nursing College
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various 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 financial situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select 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 practicing nurse in Ozark AL.