How to Pick the Right Nursing Course near Sylacauga Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college near Sylacauga AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently 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 college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Sylacauga AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, 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 duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Sylacauga AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 acquiring 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 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Sylacauga AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Sylacauga AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Sylacauga AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Sylacauga AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Sylacauga 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 considering 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Sylacauga AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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 mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Sylacauga Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sylacauga AL.