How to Select a Nursing School near Westover Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Westover AL may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Westover AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Westover AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, 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 attests that the course of study effectively 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 obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at Westover AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial 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 recommendation 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 requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Westover AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Westover AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial 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 evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Westover AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a specific 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 provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westover AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Westover AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Westover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Westover AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westover 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.
Westover Air Reserve Base
Westover Air Reserve Base (IATA: CEF, ICAO: KCEF, FAA LID: CEF) is an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) installation located in the Massachusetts communities of Chicopee and Ludlow, near the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. Westover hosts the largest Air Reserve Base in the world in terms of area. Until 2011, it was a backup landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle and in the past few years has expanded to include a growing civilian access airport (Westover Metropolitan Airport) sharing Westover's military-maintained runways. The installation was named for Major General Oscar Westover who was commanding officer of the Army Air Corps in the 1930s.
The host unit is the 439th Airlift Wing (439 AW) of the Fourth Air Force (4 AF), Air Force Reserve Command. Outside of the AFRC command structure, the 439 AW and Westover are operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC).
In 1951, Air Defense Command arrived, but then turned over the base in 1955 to Strategic Air Command, which sent the 4050th, later 499th Air Refueling Wing, to operate from the base. The 99th Bombardment Wing arrived in 1956. In case of nuclear war, an alternate SAC command bunker, called The Notch, was constructed deep within nearby Bare Mountain.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Westover AL
Deciding on the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Westover AL.
More Nursing School Locations in Alabama