How to Pick the Best Nursing Training near Trussville Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Trussville AL may seem like a challenging project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Trussville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And 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 six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Trussville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received 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, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills 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 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Courses
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Trussville AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Trussville AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Trussville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain 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 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 reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Trussville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Trussville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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 prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Trussville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Trussville Nursing College
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Trussville AL.