How to Choose a Nursing School in Jacksonville Alabama
Selecting the right nursing college near Jacksonville AL may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Jacksonville AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Jacksonville AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Jacksonville AL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Jacksonville AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Jacksonville AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from 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 type of credential you seek, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Jacksonville AL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Jacksonville AL home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Jacksonville AL along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Jacksonville AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Jacksonville AL area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews 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 find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Jacksonville 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 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Jacksonville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Jacksonville AL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Jacksonville AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Jacksonville AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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