How to Pick a Nursing School near Ashville Alabama
Searching for the right nursing school near Ashville AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly 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 need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Ashville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Ashville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive 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 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 guarantees that the syllabus effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Ashville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Ashville AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Ashville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Certain states require a certain 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 provides an exceptional 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 assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Ashville 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Ashville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Ashville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Ashville AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Ashville AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Ashville 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.
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,260 people, 814 households, and 608 families residing in the town. The population density was 116.9 people per square mile (45.1/km2). There were 905 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.42% White, 26.55% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Right Nursing Degree near Ashville AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ashville AL.
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