How to Enroll In a Nursing College in Hartselle Alabama
Searching for the right nursing program in Hartselle AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Hartselle AL. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Hartselle AL with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
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 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Hartselle AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Hartselle AL healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use 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 in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Hartselle AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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 make sure to check with the Hartselle AL board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Hartselle AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Hartselle AL to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Hartselle AL healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Hartselle 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 already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools in Hartselle AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Hartselle AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hartselle AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Hartselle AL clinical environment. Virtually all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course in Hartselle AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Hartselle AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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