How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Lafayette Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Lafayette AL may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Lafayette AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Lafayette AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Lafayette AL. And in order 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 two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions 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 readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Lafayette AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lafayette AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 attests that the core curriculum adequately 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lafayette AL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Lafayette AL home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Lafayette AL and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Lafayette AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Lafayette AL area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Lafayette AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 displeased 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 Lafayette AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Lafayette AL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Lafayette AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lafayette AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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