How to Find the Best Nursing School near Tuscumbia Alabama
Finding the best nursing college near Tuscumbia AL may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Tuscumbia AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Tuscumbia 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 job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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 be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, 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 syllabus effectively 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Tuscumbia AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Tuscumbia AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Tuscumbia AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. 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 selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Tuscumbia AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Tuscumbia AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 good reputation within the Tuscumbia AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Tuscumbia AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Tuscumbia Nursing Program
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Tuscumbia AL.