How to Enroll In a Nursing School near Ozark Alabama
Selecting the right nursing program near Ozark AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Ozark AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Ozark AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at 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 might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving 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 attained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Ozark AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 period of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Ozark AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Ozark AL for non-accredited schools.
- 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 Ozark 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 programs 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 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 Ozark AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Ozark AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Ozark AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Ozark AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Ozark Alabama area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Ozark is the principal city of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area, as well as a part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area. Fort Rucker, the primary flight training base for Army Aviation, abuts Ozark.
The first known European settler in Ozark was John Merrick, Sr., a veteran of the Revolutionary War, in 1822. In honor of him, the town was named Merricks. It was later changed to Woodshop, which was its name when the town received its post office. The first appearance of the name Ozark was in 1855, when the citizens requested a name change.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,119 people, 6,126 households, and 4,233 families residing in the city. The population density was 441.5 inhabitants per square mile (170.5/km2). There were 6,955 housing units at an average density of 203.1 per square mile (78.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.28% White, 28.30% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. 2.08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Ozark AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ozark AL.
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