How to Choose a Nursing School near Andalusia Alabama
Selecting the best nursing college near Andalusia AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Andalusia AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available 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 just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Andalusia AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job 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 higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 might desire 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner 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) 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 requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Andalusia AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the 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 certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Andalusia AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. 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.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Andalusia AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Andalusia AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Andalusia 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Andalusia AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Andalusia AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Andalusia AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Andalusia 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.
Andalusia was first settled in 1841 after flooding of the Conecuh River and the surrounding lowlands forced citizens to move to higher ground. The county seat was moved from Montezuma to Andalusia in 1844. The new town was originally called "New Site" but was known as Andalusia by the time a post office was established in 1846.
Andalusia, likely got its name from Spanish explorers or settlers since the land where the town is located was part of Spanish Florida until Pinckney's Treaty in 1795. Prior to this treaty, the Spanish Empire claimed all land up to 32.22 degrees north, which would include present day Andalusia which is at 31.31 degrees north. Andalusia shares the name of Andalusia, a large southern autonomous community of Spain.
Andalusia is located slightly northwest of the center of Covington County at 31°18′N 86°29′W / 31.300°N 86.483°W / 31.300; -86.483 (31.309, -86.479). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51.3 km2), of which 19.7 square miles (50.9 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.79%, is water.
Select the Right Nursing College near Andalusia AL
Selecting the right nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Andalusia AL.
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