How to Select a Nursing School near Loachapoka Alabama
Choosing the best nursing college near Loachapoka AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Loachapoka AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Loachapoka AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Loachapoka AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with 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.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Loachapoka AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably 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 ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Loachapoka AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations 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 Loachapoka AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Loachapoka AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Loachapoka AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Loachapoka AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Loachapoka AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Loachapoka 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.
Loachapoka is a town in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is located less than 1/2 mile west of the City of Auburn and approximately 5 miles West of Auburn University, in west-central Lee County. The population was 180 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Auburn metropolitan area.
The name "Loachapoka" means "turtle killing place" in Muskogee, with locha meaning "turtle" and poga meaning "killing place." In literature, Lochapoka was the destination of the colonists in James H. Street's 1940 novel Oh, Promised Land.
Loachapoka is governed by a mayor and 5 town council members. However, in the most recent municipal election (2016), no incumbents submitted qualifying paperwork to run for re-election. Therefore, the only citizen that did qualify for the ballot became mayor-elect, as per state law, and this was confirmed by the AL Director of Elections. When the mayor-elect brought the issue to light, several town, county and state officials worked together in a poorly hatched plan to improperly disqualify the only candidate to follow the law for qualification, as referenced in several newspaper articles and audio recordings of town hall meetings. The corruption portrayed in this series of events reflect a pattern of politics in Alabama that has been commonplace for many years, as reported in the Harvard Political Review.
Choose the Right Nursing School near Loachapoka AL
Choosing the right registered nursing college is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, 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 utilizing our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Loachapoka AL.
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