How to Select a Nursing Program in Cottondale Alabama
Finding the right nursing program in Cottondale AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Having said that, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system in Cottondale AL. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Cottondale AL with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in 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 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Cottondale 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 Cottondale AL medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Cottondale AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a 2 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.
When a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Cottondale AL board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Cottondale AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education 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 1 to 3 months, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training 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 Cottondale AL to make sure that the training 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 may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Cottondale AL healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Cottondale AL and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Cottondale AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Cottondale 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 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 good reputation within the Cottondale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Cottondale AL clinical environment. Virtually all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree in Cottondale AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Cottondale AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities 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 write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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