How to Pick a Nursing College in Fultondale Alabama
Choosing the right nursing school near Fultondale AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary 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 choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Fultondale AL medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Fultondale AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Fultondale AL. And 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 two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately 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 Alabama 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 might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Fultondale AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fultondale AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fultondale AL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Fultondale AL home, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to Fultondale AL along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Fultondale AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Fultondale AL area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Fultondale 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fultondale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Fultondale AL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Fultondale AL
Picking the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Fultondale AL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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