How to Pick a Nursing School in Montgomery Alabama
Selecting the right nursing college near Montgomery AL may feel like a difficult project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Montgomery AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. 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 in Montgomery AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Montgomery AL. 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Montgomery AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Montgomery AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about one 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 alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should 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 course of study properly 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Montgomery AL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Montgomery AL home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Montgomery AL as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Montgomery AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Montgomery AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Montgomery 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Montgomery AL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Montgomery AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Montgomery AL.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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