How to Pick a Nursing College near Oxford Alabama
Searching for the right nursing college near Oxford AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Oxford AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Oxford AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually 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.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Oxford AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many Oxford AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Oxford AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Oxford 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, 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 readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Oxford 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Oxford AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 also. Ask if the schools have associations with Oxford AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Oxford AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Oxford 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.
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Pick the Right Nursing School near Oxford AL
Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Oxford AL.
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