How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Piedmont Alabama
Selecting the right nursing program near Piedmont AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Piedmont AL medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Piedmont AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Piedmont AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards 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 4 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 might wish 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 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Piedmont AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Piedmont AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Piedmont AL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum amount of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain 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. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Piedmont AL home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Piedmont AL and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Piedmont AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 Piedmont AL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Piedmont 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 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 Piedmont AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Piedmont 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. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Piedmont AL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Piedmont AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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