How to Find the Right Nursing Training near Russellville Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Russellville AL may seem like a complex project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Russellville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing 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 higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees 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 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Russellville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 want 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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 can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Russellville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 minimum period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some Russellville AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Russellville AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start 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 reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Russellville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards 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 too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Russellville 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Russellville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Russellville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Russellville Nursing College
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 licensed RN in Russellville AL.