How to Choose a Nursing College near Cullman Alabama
Finding the best nursing college near Cullman 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 need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Cullman AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain 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 summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Cullman AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as 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) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 training can be acquired at Cullman AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Cullman AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Cullman AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. 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 Cullman 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Cullman AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Cullman AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Cullman AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Cullman AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Cullman 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.
Cullman is a city in and the county seat of Cullman County, Alabama, United States. It is located along Interstate 65, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Birmingham and about 55 miles (89 km) south of Huntsville. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 14,775, with an estimated population of 15,385 in 2017.
In the time before European settlement, the area that today includes Cullman was originally in the territory of the Cherokee Nation. The region was traversed by a trail known as the Black Warrior's Path, which led from the Tennessee River near the present location of Florence, Alabama, to a point on the Black Warrior River south of Cullman. This trail figured significantly in Cherokee history, and it featured prominently in the American Indian Wars prior to the establishment of the state of Alabama and the relocation of several American Indian tribes, including the Creek people westward along the Trail of Tears. During the Creek War in 1813, General Andrew Jackson of the U.S. Army dispatched a contingent of troops down the trail, one of which included the frontiersman Davy Crockett.
In the 1820s and the 1830s, two toll roads were built linking the Tennessee Valley to present-day Birmingham. In 1822, Abraham Stout was given a charter by the Alabama Legislature to open and turnpike a road beginning from Gandy's Cove in Morgan County to the ghost town of Baltimore on the Mulberry Fork near Colony. The road passed near present-day Vinemont through Cullman, Good Hope, and down the current Interstate 65 corridor to the Mulberry Fork. The road was later extended to Elyton (Birmingham) in 1827. It then became known as Stout's Road. Mace Thomas Payne Brindley was given a charter in 1833 to turnpike two roads, one running between Blount Springs to Somerville by way of his homestead in present-day Simcoe, and the second road passing west of Hanceville and east of Downtown Cullman to join Stout's Road north of the city. What later became the Brindley Turnpike became an extension of Stout's Road to Decatur. Cullman later became located between the juncture of the two roads, and they predated the corridor of U.S. Route 31.
Enroll in the Right Nursing School near Cullman AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 practicing nurse in Cullman AL.
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