How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Huntsville Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college in Huntsville AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Having said that, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to look into before you determine 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 care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system in Huntsville AL. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Huntsville AL with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire 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 brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Huntsville AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Huntsville AL healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Huntsville AL 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 wish 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Huntsville AL board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Huntsville AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly 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 attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Huntsville AL 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Huntsville AL healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Huntsville AL and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Huntsville AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Huntsville 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 programs you are looking at 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Huntsville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Huntsville AL clinical environment. Essentially all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course in Huntsville AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Huntsville AL.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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