How to Select a Nursing College near Bessemer Alabama
Locating the best nursing college near Bessemer AL may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don’t know 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 acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Bessemer AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Bessemer AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 typically 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 attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 properly 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Bessemer AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Bessemer AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Bessemer AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bessemer 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Bessemer AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Bessemer AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Bessemer AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Bessemer 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.
Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, named after Henry Bessemer and owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben. He had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. Located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Bessemer grew rapidly and its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power.
Given the iron ore, coal and limestone deposits in the area, the city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. It attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population.
Choose the Right Nursing School near Bessemer AL
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Bessemer AL.
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