How to Enroll In a Nursing College in Decatur Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college in Decatur AL may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine 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 system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Decatur AL. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Decatur AL with a higher degree may have more high level 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Decatur AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Decatur AL medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Decatur AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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 vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Decatur AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Decatur AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Decatur AL to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Decatur AL healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Decatur AL and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, 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 field.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Decatur AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Decatur 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 colleges 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Decatur AL clinical setting. Virtually all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College in Decatur AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, 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 utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Decatur AL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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