How to Select a Nursing College in Bessemer Alabama
Searching for the best nursing school near Bessemer AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Bessemer AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Bessemer AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Bessemer AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn 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 normally a 2 year program offered 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Bessemer AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Bessemer AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish 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 syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many 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 Bessemer AL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 certified. Along with 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.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Bessemer AL home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities 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 active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Bessemer AL as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Bessemer AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Bessemer AL area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Bessemer 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Bessemer AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Bessemer AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Bessemer AL
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Bessemer AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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