How to Choose a Nursing Program in Grand Bay Alabama
Searching for the right nursing school near Grand Bay AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Grand Bay AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Grand Bay AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Grand Bay AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in 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 short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Grand Bay AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Grand Bay AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth 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 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Grand Bay AL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimal period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training 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 requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Grand Bay AL home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. 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 in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Grand Bay AL along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Grand Bay AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 Grand Bay AL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 nearby Grand Bay 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Grand Bay AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Grand Bay 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 also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Grand Bay AL
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, 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 using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Grand Bay AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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