How to Find the Right Nursing School near Prattville Alabama
Selecting the best nursing school near Prattville AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Prattville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered 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 two 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 the Prattville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities 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) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Prattville AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Prattville AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Prattville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 finish 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 good reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Prattville AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Prattville AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Prattville 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.
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Prattville AL
Picking the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prattville AL.
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