How to Enroll In a Nursing Degree Program near Cottonwood Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college near Cottonwood AL may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Cottonwood AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Cottonwood AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may want 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable 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 warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Cottonwood AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some Cottonwood AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Cottonwood AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly 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 evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Cottonwood AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Cottonwood 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 schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Cottonwood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Cottonwood AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Cottonwood AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Cottonwood 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.
Cottonwood is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. One source said the town incorporated in 1901, although the 1910 U.S. Census stated 1903. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,289, up from 1,170 in 2000.
Cottonwood is located in southern Houston County at 31°3′13″N 85°18′9″W / 31.05361°N 85.30250°W / 31.05361; -85.30250 (31.053646, -85.302409).Alabama State Route 53 passes through the center of town, leading north 14 miles (23 km) to Dothan and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to the Florida state line. Malone, Florida, is 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Cottonwood.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 485 households, and 323 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.9 people per square mile (82.1/km2). There were 548 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.06% White, 29.06% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Nursing Degree near Cottonwood AL
Deciding on the right nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose 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 registered nurse in Cottonwood AL.
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