How to Select a Nursing Program in Tuskegee Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college near Tuskegee AL may seem like a complicated project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Tuskegee AL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Tuskegee AL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Tuskegee AL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Tuskegee AL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Tuskegee AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, 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 core curriculum 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Tuskegee AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Alabama 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 might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Alabama. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Tuskegee AL home, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many 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 discussed, the location of the school relative to Tuskegee AL along with the cost of tuition are probably 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 final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Tuskegee AL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Tuskegee AL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 call some nearby Tuskegee 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Tuskegee AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Tuskegee AL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Tuskegee AL
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN 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 produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Tuskegee AL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters 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 may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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