How to Pick a Nursing School in Selma Alabama
Searching for the right nursing college near Selma AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Selma AL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Selma AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Selma AL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Selma AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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 can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Selma AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage 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. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Selma AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary 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 check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training course 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.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified 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 Selma AL home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school 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 enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Selma AL and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points 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 compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Selma AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Selma AL area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Selma AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Selma AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Selma AL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near Selma AL
Choosing the right registered nursing college is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college 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 develop 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 practicing RN in Selma AL.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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