How to Enroll In a Nursing Degree Program near Elkmont Alabama
Finding the right nursing program near Elkmont AL may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive 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 contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Elkmont AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care 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 duties 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
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Elkmont AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Elkmont AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Elkmont AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Elkmont AL or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Elkmont AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Some 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Elkmont 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Elkmont AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Elkmont AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Elkmont AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Elkmont 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.
Elkmont is a town in Limestone County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 434, down from its record high of 470 in 2000.
Elkmont began as a stop known as "Fort Hampton" along the newly-constructed Tennessee and Alabama Central Railroad in 1859. The name was changed to "Elkmont," after the elk that once flourished in the area, in 1866. The Tennessee and Alabama Central eventually became part of the L&N Railroad system, which built the current depot (now used as a community center) in 1887. The railroad tracks have since been removed, and are now part of the Richard Martin Trail. Elkmont incorporated in 1873.
Elkmont is located at 34°55′49″N 86°58′38″W / 34.93028°N 86.97722°W / 34.93028; -86.97722 (34.930155, -86.977086). The town is concentrated around the intersection of County Road 49 (Upper Fort Hampton Road) and the old railroad line (now the Richard Martin Trail), several miles north of Athens, and a few miles south of the Alabama-Tennessee state line. Interstate 65 passes to the east of Elkmont, and the Elk River passes to the west. State Route 127 runs along a portion of Elkmont's western municipal boundary.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Elkmont AL
Selecting the right nursing degree program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Elkmont AL.
More Nursing School Locations in Alabama
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- Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) | College of Nursing
University of Alabama - Profile, Rankings and Data | US News Best Colleges
University of Alabama's ranking in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #148. Its in-state tuition and fees are $11,620; out-of-state tuition and fees are $31,090.