How to Choose a Nursing School in Hodges Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Hodges AL may feel like a complex project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Hodges AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Hodges AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Hodges AL. And in order 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 summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps 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 obtain 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 able 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Hodges AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Hodges AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive 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 warrants 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.
Unlike 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 Hodges AL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 minimum period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 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 requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Hodges AL home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper 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. And so if your work 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.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Hodges AL as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Hodges AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 imperative that the Hodges AL area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Hodges 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 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 unhappy 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 Hodges AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Hodges 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 also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Hodges AL
Picking the right registered nursing program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Hodges AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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