How to Pick a Nursing Program near Goodwater Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Goodwater AL may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Goodwater AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Goodwater AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive 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 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 usually 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive training, 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 Goodwater AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with 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.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Goodwater AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Goodwater AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Goodwater 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Goodwater AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Goodwater AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Goodwater AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Goodwater AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Goodwater 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,633 people, 621 households, and 424 families residing in the city. The population density was 249.6 people per square mile (96.4/km²). There were 727 housing units at an average density of 111.1 per square mile (42.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.30% Black or African American, 25.66% White, 0.31% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.55% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,188, and the median income for a family was $28,819. Males had a median income of $22,414 versus $17,464 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,602. About 21.0% of families and 23.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.8% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Goodwater AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Goodwater AL.
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