How to Enroll In a Nursing College in Athens Alabama
Searching for the best nursing school near Athens AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Athens AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Athens AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Athens AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Athens 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Athens AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Athens AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 period of training required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Athens AL home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Athens AL as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Athens AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Athens AL area school you are enrolled in 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 working.
Reputation. Visit online 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, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Athens 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 programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Athens 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 associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Athens AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Athens AL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Alabama