How to Pick a Nursing College in Thomasville Alabama
Finding the right nursing program in Thomasville AL may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure 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 appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Thomasville AL. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty 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 area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Thomasville AL with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Thomasville AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Thomasville AL healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Thomasville AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 advance 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Thomasville AL board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Thomasville AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately 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 obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Thomasville AL to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local Thomasville AL healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Thomasville AL and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Thomasville 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional 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 internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Thomasville 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 looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Thomasville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Thomasville AL clinical environment. Virtually all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School in Thomasville AL
Choosing the right registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Thomasville AL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in Alabama You May be Interested In