How to Choose a Nursing College in Glenwood Alabama
Selecting the right nursing program in Glenwood AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, 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 assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Glenwood AL. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Glenwood AL with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in Glenwood AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Glenwood AL medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Glenwood AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Glenwood AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Glenwood AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training 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, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have 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 prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Glenwood AL to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires 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 growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Glenwood AL healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Glenwood AL and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools in Glenwood AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 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 practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Glenwood 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 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 displeased 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 Glenwood AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Glenwood AL clinical setting. Essentially all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College in Glenwood AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Glenwood AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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