How to Choose a Nursing College in Prattville Alabama
Finding the best nursing college near Prattville AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Prattville AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely 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 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 functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Prattville AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Prattville AL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries 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 prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Prattville AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. 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 Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Prattville AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 core curriculum adequately 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 earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Prattville AL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Prattville AL home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Prattville AL along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Prattville AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Prattville AL area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Prattville 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 colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Prattville AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Prattville AL
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many 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 situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prattville AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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