Become a Nurse | Nursing Schools Elmore AL

How to Select a Nursing School near Elmore Alabama

Elmore AL pediatric nurse holding babyLocating the right nursing college near Elmore AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Elmore AL Registered Nurse (RN)Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Elmore AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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.

Nursing Degrees

There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Elmore AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 might wish 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned 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. Additional 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 mandates.

LPN and LVN Programs

Elmore AL geriatric nurse with patientThere are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Elmore AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

Nursing Online Schools

female student attending nursing school online in Elmore ALAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Elmore AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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 household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Elmore AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Elmore AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • 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 also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Elmore AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 finish 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 superb reputation within the Elmore AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Elmore AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enrolling in a Nursing School near Elmore AL?

Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Elmore 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.

Elmore County, Alabama

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 65,874 people, 22,737 households, and 17,552 families residing in the county. The population density was 106 people per square mile (41/km2). There were 25,733 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.02% White, 20.64% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 1.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 22,737 households out of which 37.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.40% were married couples living together, 12.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.80% were non-families. 20.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 32.10% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.30 males.

Choose the Right Nursing School near Elmore AL

Elmore AL Neonatal Nurse with newborn babyPicking the ideal nursing school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Elmore AL.

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