How to Choose a Nursing School near Fultondale Alabama
Selecting the right nursing program near Fultondale AL may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college 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 important additional things to explore before you make a decision 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 medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Fultondale AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Fultondale AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, 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 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Fultondale AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 period of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program 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 sure that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Fultondale AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Fultondale 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) as well as 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Fultondale 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fultondale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fultondale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Fultondale AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Fultondale AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Fultondale 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.
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), all land. Fultondale is located along one of the many ridgelines that comprise the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The area has been thoroughly mined for coal and other minerals in the past 100 years. The city is served by two major north/south highways, Interstate 65 and US Highway 31. The new Interstate 22 encroaches on the city's western edge and on June 20, 2016, the interchange with I-65 just south of Fultondale opened. I-22 will provide direct interstate access to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion of Interstate 22, Fultondale will become the fourth Alabama city (after Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile) to be directly served by more than one two-digit interstate highway (I-65 & I-22). The only east/west thoroughfare of note is Walkers Chapel Road (west of US 31) and New Castle Road (east of US 31). Rail lines run north/south along the city's eastern edge from Boyles Yard in Tarrant to points north and east. Air travel is available from nearby Birmingham International Airport.
Pick the Right Nursing College near Fultondale AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Fultondale AL.
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