Become a Nurse | Nursing Schools Marion Junction AL

How to Choose a Nursing Degree Program near Marion Junction Alabama

Marion Junction AL pediatric nurse holding babySearching for the best nursing school near Marion Junction AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Marion Junction AL Registered Nurse (RN)Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Marion Junction AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact 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
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

There are several degree options offered 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 as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Marion Junction AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN Programs

Marion Junction AL geriatric nurse with patientThere are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative 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 advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, 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 syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Programs

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Marion Junction AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 minimum period of training directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.

Nursing Online Programs

female student attending nursing school online in Marion Junction ALAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Marion Junction AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Marion Junction AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Marion Junction 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Marion Junction 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 colleges 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Marion Junction AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Marion Junction AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enrolling in a Nursing School near Marion Junction AL?

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

Marion Junction, Alabama

Pick the Right Nursing College near Marion Junction AL

Marion Junction AL Neonatal Nurse with newborn babyPicking the ideal nursing program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Marion Junction AL.

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