How to Select a Nursing Program near Spanish Fort Alabama
Finding the right nursing college near Spanish Fort AL may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training 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 selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Spanish Fort AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care 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. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Spanish Fort AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader 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 extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable 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 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Spanish Fort AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Spanish Fort AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin 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 essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Spanish Fort AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Spanish Fort 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Spanish Fort AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Spanish Fort AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Spanish Fort AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Spanish Fort AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Spanish Fort 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.
Spanish Fort, Alabama
Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.
In November 2012, Spanish Fort built a community center to house its administrative offices and city amenities. The center is home to the city library, administrative offices, the office of the mayor, and other city-run services. The municipal complex is roughly 30,000 square feet and cost around $5 million to build. It sits on 17-acres of prime land and features a large pond with two fountains and a pavilion. The city also hosts community outreach events along with city council and budget meetings.
Spanish Fort is located at 30°40'7.403" North, 87°55'19.844" West (30.668723, -87.922179), above the east shore of the Blakeley River where it enters Mobile Bay. U.S. Routes 90 and 98 (Battleship Parkway) lead west across the Mobile River and its distributaries 9 miles (14 km) to Mobile. Interstate 10 passes just to the south of Spanish Fort, with access from exits 35 and 38, and leads west across Mobile Bay to Mobile as well.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Spanish Fort AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Spanish Fort AL.
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