How to Select a Nursing College near Hamilton Alabama
Finding the best nursing school near Hamilton AL may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Hamilton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Hamilton AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Hamilton AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Hamilton AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 along with 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 help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Hamilton AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hamilton 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Hamilton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost 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. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Hamilton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Hamilton AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Hamilton AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Hamilton 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.
Joshua Holt Hamilton (born May 21, 1981) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played for the Cincinnati Reds (2007), Texas Rangers (2008-2012, 2015), and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2013–2014). Hamilton is a five-time MLB All-Star and won the American League Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2010.
Josh Hamilton was the first overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was considered a blue chip prospect until injuries and a drug addiction derailed his career, beginning in 2001. Prior to the 2007 season, Hamilton was selected by the Chicago Cubs (picking for the Reds) in the Rule 5 draft. During the off-season he was traded to the Rangers.
During the 2008 season, Hamilton was named to the AL All-Star team. He also participated in the Home Run Derby, where he hit a record 28 home runs in the opening round and finished with 35 home runs, which was second-most all-time in derby history. He made the All-Star team the next four seasons as well. In 2012, Hamilton received more votes than any other player on the All-Star Game ballot, besting by approximately 3.5 million votes the vote count set in 2011 by José Bautista. Hamilton won the AL batting title in 2010. On October 22, 2010, Hamilton was selected as MVP of the 2010 ALCS. On November 23, 2010, Hamilton was named the 2010 AL MVP, earning 22 of 28 first-place votes. On May 8, 2012, Hamilton became the 16th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game. All 4 home runs were 2-run home runs, and he set an AL record for total bases in a game with 18.
Choose the Right Nursing Program near Hamilton AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Hamilton AL.
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