How to Choose a Nursing Program in Bucks Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Bucks AL may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Bucks AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Bucks AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Bucks AL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 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 ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Bucks AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Bucks AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, along with 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 needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Bucks AL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Bucks AL home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Bucks AL along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Bucks 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Bucks AL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Bucks 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 colleges 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Bucks AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Bucks AL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Bucks AL
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Bucks AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Alabama