How to Enroll In a Nursing College in Helena Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Helena AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to search 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 critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Helena AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising 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 instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Helena AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Helena 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Helena AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Helena AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to 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 effectively 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Helena AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the education is state approved. As well as 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 Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Helena AL home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Helena AL as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Helena AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Helena AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Helena 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 schools you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Helena AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Helena AL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course near Helena AL
Selecting the right registered nursing college is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Helena AL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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