How to Choose a Nursing College in Semmes Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Semmes AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Semmes AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support 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:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Semmes AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Semmes AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares 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 afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four 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 might 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Semmes AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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 mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Semmes AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, 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 alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Semmes AL area. The duration of the instruction 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Semmes AL home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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. So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Semmes AL along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Semmes AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Semmes AL area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online 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, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Semmes AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Semmes AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Semmes AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near Semmes AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Semmes AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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