How to Pick a Nursing College in Gadsden Alabama
Selecting the best nursing program in Gadsden AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain 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 considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Having said that, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system in Gadsden AL. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Gadsden 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Gadsden AL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Gadsden AL healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Gadsden AL colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 normally a two year program after obtaining 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 acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Gadsden AL board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Gadsden AL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Gadsden AL to make certain that the training course 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local Gadsden AL healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Gadsden AL and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools in Gadsden AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Gadsden 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 considering 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 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 Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Gadsden AL clinical setting. Essentially all Alabama nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course in Gadsden AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gadsden AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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