How to Choose a Nursing Program in Ozark Alabama
Selecting the right nursing program in Ozark AL may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system in Ozark AL. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Ozark AL with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally 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 Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Ozark AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Ozark AL healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Ozark AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 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.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Ozark AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Ozark AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training 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 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 mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain 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 Ozark AL to make sure that the training course 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Ozark AL healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Ozark AL and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to 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 help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools in Ozark AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Ozark 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 schools 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 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 Ozark AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Ozark 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 too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course in Ozark AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Ozark AL.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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