How to Pick a Nursing Program in Normal Alabama
Locating the right nursing college in Normal AL may feel like a complex project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system in Normal AL. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific 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:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Normal AL with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly 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 is more than one degree option 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 two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Normal AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Normal AL healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Normal AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Normal AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 Normal 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 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 many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Normal AL to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Normal AL healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Normal AL and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things 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 measures up to the other programs.
- 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 ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in Normal AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Normal 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Normal AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Normal AL clinical environment. Virtually all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School in Normal AL
Picking the right registered nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Normal AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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