How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Andalusia Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Andalusia AL may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Andalusia AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid 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 few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Andalusia AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Andalusia AL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 wish 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Andalusia AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Andalusia AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Andalusia AL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the course 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 check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training course 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 can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Andalusia AL home, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Andalusia AL as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Andalusia AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Andalusia AL area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 regional Andalusia 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 schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Andalusia AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Andalusia 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 regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Andalusia AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Andalusia AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt 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 position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Alabama