How to Select a Nursing School near Florala Alabama
Searching for the right nursing school near Florala AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Florala AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Florala AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he 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 get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Florala AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 certain that the education is state certified. Along with 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.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many Florala AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Florala AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Florala AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Florala 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 schools 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Florala AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Florala AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Florala AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Florala 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.
Florala is located along the Alabama–Florida state line at 31°0′28″N 86°19′30″W / 31.00778°N 86.32500°W / 31.00778; -86.32500 (31.007712, -86.324957). It is bordered by the town of Lockhart to the west and the town of Paxton, Florida, to the south.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.4 km2), of which 10.5 square miles (27.3 km2) is land and 0.46 square miles (1.2 km2), or 4.07%, is water. Lake Jackson lies on the state line, half in Florala. Florala City Park occupies all of the lake's shoreline in Alabama.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,980 people, 839 households, and 514 families residing in the city. The population density was 180.2 people per square mile (72.6/km²). There were 1,107 housing units at an average density of 105.0 per square mile (40.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.1% White, 15.8% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. 2.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Florala AL
Deciding on the right nursing school is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Florala AL.
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