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How to Select the Best Nursing Training near Princeton Alabama

Princeton Alabama RN with physician and patientFinding the best nursing college near Princeton AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Princeton Alabama RN talking to a nursing home patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Princeton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular 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
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Princeton AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve 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 eligible 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

LVN and LPN Training

Princeton Alabama LVN holding door for patient using crutchesThere 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 amount of time, commonly about 1 year, 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 alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Princeton AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain 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 recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

Nursing Online Courses

Princeton Alabama RN assisting surgeon with operationAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many Princeton AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Princeton AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Princeton 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) 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Princeton 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 programs 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Princeton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Princeton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Princeton Nursing Colleges

Choose the Right Princeton Nursing Degree Program

Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Princeton AL.



 

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