How to Enroll In a Nursing School near Oxford Alabama
Finding the best nursing college near Oxford AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Oxford AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire 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 Oxford AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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 make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide education 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 second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Oxford AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Oxford AL or online, you can use the following pointers 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Oxford AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit 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. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Oxford 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Oxford AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Oxford AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Oxford AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Oxford AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Oxford 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.
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Pick the Right Nursing School near Oxford AL
Choosing the right registered nursing program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oxford AL.
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