How to Find the Best Nursing College near Saks Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Saks AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Saks AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Saks AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining 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 attained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly 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 earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Saks 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. Under 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 minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Saks AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Saks AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, 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 so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Saks AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Saks 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Saks AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Saks AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Saks Nursing Program
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Saks AL.