How to Find the Right Nursing College near Waterloo Alabama
Selecting the right nursing college near Waterloo AL may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Waterloo AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Waterloo AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps 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 ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving 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 obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Waterloo AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and attain 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 conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Waterloo AL students. Regarding tuition, many 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Waterloo AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Waterloo 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Waterloo 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 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 favorable reputation within the Waterloo AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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 prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Waterloo AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Waterloo AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Waterloo 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.
Waterloo is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence–Muscle Shoals metropolitan area, known as "The Shoals". As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 203, down from 208 in 2000. The town and surrounding area is served by Waterloo High School and by the Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department.
The town was incorporated in 1832 on the banks of the Tennessee River. The name most likely commemorates the Battle of Waterloo. According to the 1910 U.S. Census, Waterloo was reincorporated in 1903.
In the 1930s, the town was moved to its current location when the Tennessee Valley Authority completed the Pickwick Landing Dam, which impounds Pickwick Lake. Waterloo has lost a large area of land to floods and later the construction of Pickwick Landing Dam.
Select the Right Nursing College near Waterloo AL
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning 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 contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Waterloo 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.