How to Pick a Nursing Program in Hartselle Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Hartselle AL may feel like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Hartselle AL medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Hartselle AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Hartselle AL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 may 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Hartselle AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Hartselle AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Hartselle AL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Hartselle AL home, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Hartselle 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 only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Hartselle AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Hartselle AL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Hartselle 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Hartselle AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Hartselle AL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Hartselle AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hartselle AL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Alabama