How to Select a Nursing Program in Ragland Alabama
Locating the right nursing college near Ragland AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Ragland AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 Ragland AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Ragland AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two 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 subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 might desire 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Ragland AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ragland AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying 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 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ragland AL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important 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 suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Ragland AL home, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree 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 undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Ragland AL as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Ragland AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 imperative that the Ragland AL area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Ragland 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 colleges 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 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 Ragland AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Ragland 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 associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Ragland AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Ragland AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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