How to Enroll In the Right Nursing College near Troy Alabama
Locating the right nursing college near Troy AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Troy AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance 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 Troy AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring 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, she or he 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 don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 properly 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 instruction can be acquired at Troy AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 training directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Troy AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Troy AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Troy 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in 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 internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Troy 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 colleges 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 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 Troy AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Troy AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Troy Nursing School
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Troy AL.