How to Find the Right Nursing College in Gulf Shores Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Gulf Shores AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must 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 school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Gulf Shores AL medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Gulf Shores AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Gulf Shores AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain 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 generally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Gulf Shores AL or concentrate 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Gulf Shores AL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Gulf Shores AL area. The duration 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 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 minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Gulf Shores AL home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Gulf Shores AL along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Gulf Shores AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Gulf Shores AL area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Gulf Shores 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gulf Shores AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Gulf Shores AL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Gulf Shores AL
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Gulf Shores AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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