How to Select a Nursing College in Ashford Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Ashford AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Ashford AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Ashford AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Ashford AL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Ashford AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ashford AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable 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 another 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ashford AL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Ashford AL home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Ashford AL along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Ashford AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Ashford AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Ashford 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Ashford AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Ashford AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Ashford AL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ashford AL.
Why Did You Want to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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