How to Select a Nursing Program near Scottsboro Alabama
Finding the best nursing program near Scottsboro AL may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Scottsboro AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Scottsboro AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually 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 want to advance 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Scottsboro AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education 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 prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Scottsboro AL or on the web, 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 reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Scottsboro AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Scottsboro AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Scottsboro AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsboro AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Scottsboro 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 can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Scottsboro AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Scottsboro 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.
Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 14,770. Named for its founder Robert T. Scott, the city is the county seat of Jackson County.
From its incorporation in 1870 until 1890, it was the largest community in Jackson County, losing the distinction from 1900 to 1920 to Bridgeport, but reclaiming the title in 1930 and holding it since that time.
It is located 30 miles each from the state boundaries of Georgia to the east (Dade County) and Tennessee to the north, about 45 miles from Huntsville, Alabama to the west and about 55 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee to the northeast.
Select the Right Nursing College near Scottsboro AL
Picking the right registered nursing college is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Scottsboro AL.
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