How to Pick a Nursing School in Shelby Alabama
Searching for the right nursing program near Shelby AL may seem like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over 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 Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Shelby AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Shelby AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Shelby AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 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 offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position 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 more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Shelby AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Shelby AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Shelby AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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 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 requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Shelby AL home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to Shelby AL and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Shelby AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 important that the Shelby AL area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Shelby 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Shelby AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Shelby AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Shelby AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 licensed registered nurse in Shelby AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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