How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Rainbow City Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Rainbow City AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Rainbow City AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 Rainbow City AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Rainbow City 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 2 years, or continue on 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 generally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Rainbow City AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Rainbow City AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice 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 complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Rainbow City AL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Rainbow City AL home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Rainbow City AL along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Rainbow City AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) 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 important that the Rainbow City AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Rainbow 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Rainbow City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Rainbow City AL area nursing degree programs require a certain 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 community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near Rainbow City AL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select 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 Rainbow City AL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently 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 personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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