How to Select a Nursing School near Newton Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Newton AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices 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 Newton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Newton AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing 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 core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at Newton AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Newton AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Newton AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Newton 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 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 good reputation within the Newton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Newton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Newton AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Newton AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Newton 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.
Cameron Jerrell Newton (born May 11, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Auburn and was drafted as the first overall pick by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton is the only player in the modern era to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft within a one-year span. He was the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, is a three-time Pro Bowler, and was named the NFL MVP in 2015.
In his rookie year, Newton broke all-time NFL rookie records for passing and rushing yards. He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game, shattering Peyton Manning's first-game record by 120 yards. He also broke Otto Graham's 61-year-old record for passing yards by any quarterback in an NFL debut. Newton went on to become the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. He also ran for 14 touchdowns, more in a single season than any quarterback in NFL history, breaking Steve Grogan's 35-year-old record.
In 2015, Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in the same season (35 passing, 10 rushing). He also became the only quarterback ever to have 300 yards passing, 5 touchdown passes, and over 100 yards rushing in the same game. Newton capped off the 2015 season by capturing MVP honors and leading the Panthers to a 15–1 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Newton AL
Choosing the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Newton AL.
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