How to Select a Nursing School in Newton Alabama
Finding the right nursing school in Newton AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially 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 necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision 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 house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Newton AL. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Newton AL with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Newton AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Newton AL healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently 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 four year program offered at Newton AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 progress 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 attaining 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 earned 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Newton AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Newton 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 effectively 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 obtain 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 one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Newton AL to make sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Newton AL healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Newton AL and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in Newton AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Newton 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Newton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Newton AL clinical environment. Almost all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course in Newton AL
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Newton AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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