How to Choose a Nursing Program in Florence Alabama
Searching for the right nursing school in Florence AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Florence AL. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Florence AL with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally 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 offered 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 just 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 available in Florence AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Florence AL medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Florence AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Florence AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Florence AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Florence AL to make certain 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Florence AL healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Florence AL and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Florence AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Florence 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Florence AL clinical environment. Essentially all Alabama nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course in Florence AL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 licensed registered nurse in Florence AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must organize some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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