How to Find the Right Nursing Degree Program near Trussville Alabama
Locating the best nursing school near Trussville AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional things to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Trussville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Trussville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare 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) offers more extensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 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 normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Trussville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure 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 check 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Courses
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Trussville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Trussville AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Trussville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Trussville 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Trussville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Trussville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Trussville Nursing College
Choosing the right registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Trussville AL.