How to Pick a Nursing College near Albertville Alabama
Searching for the right nursing program near Albertville AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Albertville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Albertville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at 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 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner 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 fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Albertville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Albertville AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Albertville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Albertville 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Albertville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Albertville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many Albertville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Albertville AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Albertville 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.
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
At about 4:10 p.m. on April 24, 1908, the city was virtually wiped out by a tornado that became commonly called "The Great Cyclone," or "The Cyclone of 1908." The storm is believed to have killed 35 people across northeastern Alabama, including 15 in Albertville. Relief was largely delivered by railroad, particularly from the nearby city of Gadsden. Trains from Gadsden transported doctors, nurses, and the Queen City Guards, the Alabama militia company based in Gadsden. The commander of the latter, future Gadsden mayor and Col. R.A. Mitchell, reported in a dispatch to Governor B.B. Comer:
Choose the Right Nursing College near Albertville AL
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Albertville AL.
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