How to Pick a Nursing School in Alabaster Alabama
Finding the right nursing school near Alabaster AL may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Alabaster AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting 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 more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Alabaster AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Alabaster AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Alabama 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 may 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Alabaster AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Alabaster AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about one 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 commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Alabaster AL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as 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 Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Alabaster AL home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Alabaster AL along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
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. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Alabaster AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Alabaster AL area school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Alabaster 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Alabaster AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Alabaster AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Alabaster AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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