How to Choose a Nursing College near Hartselle Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Hartselle AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order 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 ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Hartselle AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Hartselle AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, 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 attests that the core curriculum 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 education can be received at Hartselle AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 can be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Hartselle AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Hartselle AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers 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. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hartselle 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 Hartselle AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Hartselle AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Hartselle AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Hartselle AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Hartselle 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.
Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, Alabama, United States, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Decatur, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, and the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,255. Hartselle was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad's owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1916.
Hartselle is located at 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028Coordinates: 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028 (34.440383, -86.940385).
Select the Right Nursing Program near Hartselle AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Hartselle AL.
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