How to Choose a Nursing School near Coffee Springs Alabama
Choosing the best nursing college near Coffee Springs AL may seem like a difficult project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you 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 assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations 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 job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Coffee Springs AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing 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 often 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.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. 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 advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Coffee Springs AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, 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 attests 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Coffee Springs AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many Coffee Springs AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Coffee Springs AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Coffee Springs AL for non-accredited schools.
- 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Coffee Springs 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 programs you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Coffee Springs AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Coffee Springs AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Coffee Springs AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Coffee Springs 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.
Coffee Springs, Alabama
Coffee Springs is a town in Geneva County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1900, and it is considered to be a part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 228, down from 251.
As of the census of 2000, there were 251 people, 108 households, and 74 families residing in the town. The population density was 320.3 people per square mile (124.2/km2). There were 128 housing units at an average density of 163.3 per square mile (63.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 93.23% White, 3.98% Black or African American, and 2.79% from two or more races.
There were 108 households out of which 17.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.4% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.77.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Coffee Springs AL
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final 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 Coffee Springs AL.
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