How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Calera Alabama
Choosing the best nursing college near Calera AL may seem like a complex undertaking, 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 acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Calera AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Calera AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Calera 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Calera AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Calera AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 attests 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.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Calera AL area. The duration of the training 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Calera AL home, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Calera AL and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Calera AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Calera AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Calera 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 programs you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Calera AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Calera AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Calera AL
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick 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 licensed RN in Calera AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Alabama