How to Find the Right Nursing Program near Jackson Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Jackson AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively 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 home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Jackson AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally 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.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Jackson 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 facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ 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 generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 commonly 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.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Jackson AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. 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.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Jackson AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many 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 workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Jackson AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Jackson 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Jackson AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Jackson AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Jackson AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Jackson AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Jackson 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.
Al Jackson Jr.
Albert J. Jackson Jr. (November 27, 1935 – October 1, 1975) was an American drummer, producer, and songwriter. He was a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, a group of session musicians who worked for Stax Records and produced their own instrumentals. Jackson was affectionately dubbed "The Human Timekeeper" for his drumming ability. He was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jackson's father, Al Jackson Sr., led a jazz/swing dance band in Memphis, Tennessee. The young Jackson started drumming at an early age and began playing on stage with his father's band in 1940, at the age of five. He later played in producer and trumpeter Willie Mitchell's band and at the same time was holding down a chair in the popular Ben Branch Band.
Future bandmates Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn first heard Jackson playing in Mitchell's band at the Flamingo Room, and the all-white Manhattan Club. Mitchell had also hired Booker T. Jones for his band. It was Jones who suggested Jackson be brought to Stax. He said, "You guys need to know about Al." Dunn said that Jackson almost caused his wife to divorce him, because after finishing his own gig at one o'clock, he would stop by a club to hear Jackson and would get home at four or five in the morning; "He was that good!" said Dunn. At first, Jackson was reluctant to join Stax. He felt he could make more money playing live than doing session work. He wanted a guaranteed regular salary to come over to Stax (although he continued to play on sessions produced by Mitchell for Hi Records). And so he became the first Stax session musician to be on a weekly salary.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Jackson AL
Picking the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 licensed registered nurse in Jackson AL.
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