How to Find the Right Nursing College in Montevallo Alabama
Selecting the best nursing college near Montevallo AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Montevallo AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Montevallo AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Montevallo AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Montevallo AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he 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.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Montevallo AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying 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 pursue, 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Montevallo AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Montevallo AL home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Montevallo AL as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Montevallo 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Montevallo AL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Montevallo 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Montevallo AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Montevallo AL area nursing degree programs require a certain 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 nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Montevallo AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Montevallo AL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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