How to Pick a Nursing School in Arlington Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school in Arlington AL may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already 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 study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system in Arlington AL. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Arlington 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 normally 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 multiple degrees available 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Arlington AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Arlington AL medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Arlington AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Arlington AL board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Arlington AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the training program 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 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 training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program 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 Arlington AL to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Arlington AL healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Arlington AL and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Arlington AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Arlington AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 Arlington AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Arlington AL clinical setting. Essentially all Alabama nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course in Arlington AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out 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 medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose 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 licensed registered nurse in Arlington AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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