How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Theodore Alabama
Locating the best nursing program in Theodore AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Theodore AL. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Theodore AL with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in Theodore AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Theodore AL healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Theodore 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 want 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Theodore AL board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn 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 supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Theodore AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired 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, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimal period of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Theodore AL to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Theodore AL healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Theodore AL and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools in Theodore 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Theodore 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 looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Theodore AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Theodore AL clinical environment. Essentially all Alabama nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School in Theodore AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Theodore AL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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