How to Select a Nursing School in Summerdale Alabama
Finding the best nursing college near Summerdale AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Summerdale AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Summerdale AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Summerdale AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain 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 typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Summerdale AL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Summerdale AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, 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 commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish 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 guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Summerdale AL area. The duration of the instruction 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain 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 prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Alabama. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Summerdale AL home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as 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, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to Summerdale 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 emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Summerdale AL.
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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Summerdale AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Summerdale AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Summerdale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Summerdale AL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Summerdale AL
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Summerdale AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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