How to Choose a Nursing College near Marion Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Marion AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to look into 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 medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Marion AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support 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 few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Marion AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 normally a 2 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.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate 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 scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage 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. 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study adequately 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at Marion AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 required to receive 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 period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Marion AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Marion AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important 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 working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Marion 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 looking at 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Marion AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Marion AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Marion AL students. Concerning 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 reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Marion AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Marion 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.
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
At the 1844 meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Marion, the "Alabama Resolutions" were passed. This was one of the factors that led to the 1845 formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Marion AL
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Marion AL.
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