How to Pick a Nursing Program near Evergreen Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Evergreen AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Evergreen AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering 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 higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Evergreen AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 want 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually 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 transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, 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 the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Evergreen AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and each 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 additionally 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 certain that the education 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 prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Evergreen AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Evergreen 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) as well as 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Evergreen 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 schools 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Evergreen AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Evergreen AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Evergreen AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Evergreen AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Evergreen 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.
Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Evergreen AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Evergreen AL.
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