How to Find the Right Nursing School near Alton Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Alton AL may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Alton AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Alton AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are basically two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable 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 guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Alton AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state 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 might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many Alton AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Alton AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Alton AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Alton AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Alton AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Alton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Alton AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Alton Alabama area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Alton "Big Al" Carson
As of 2006, Carson currently appears with his band, the Bluemasters, at the Funky Pirate on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, several nights a week. He also performs irregularly with other bands.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Alton AL
Picking the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Alton AL.
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