How to Choose a Nursing School in Carrollton Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Carrollton AL may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure 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 essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Carrollton AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Carrollton AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Carrollton AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain 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 typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Carrollton AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Carrollton AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly 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 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 Carrollton AL area. The duration 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 obtain 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 amount of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with 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 Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Carrollton AL home, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Carrollton AL as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Carrollton AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Carrollton AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Carrollton 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 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Carrollton AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Carrollton AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course near Carrollton AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Carrollton AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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