How to Find the Right Nursing College in Alexandria Alabama
Finding the best nursing program near Alexandria AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Alexandria AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Alexandria AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Alexandria AL. And 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 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Alexandria AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Alexandria AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Alexandria AL area. The length of the training program 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 mandated to receive 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 directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Alexandria AL home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. 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 training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Alexandria AL and the cost 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Alexandria AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Alexandria AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Alexandria 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 schools you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Alexandria AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Alexandria AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Alexandria AL
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alexandria AL.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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