How to Pick a Nursing College in Pell City Alabama
Searching for the right nursing college near Pell City AL may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Pell City AL medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Pell City AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Pell City AL. And in order 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 achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps 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 earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Pell City AL or concentrate 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Pell City AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Pell City AL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the course 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 contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Pell City AL home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Pell City AL along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Pell City AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 Pell City AL area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Pell City 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 schools 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Pell City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Pell City AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Degree near Pell City AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Pell City AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Alabama