How to Pick the Right Nursing Program near Russellville Alabama
Finding the right nursing program near Russellville AL may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Russellville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions 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 preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Russellville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require 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 option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Russellville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Russellville AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 Russellville 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Russellville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Russellville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Best Russellville Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Russellville AL.