How to Choose a Nursing College near Summerdale Alabama
Finding the best nursing program near Summerdale AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, 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 research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional things to investigate 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 medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Summerdale AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Summerdale AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually 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 attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 guarantees that the core curriculum properly 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Summerdale AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Summerdale AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within 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 already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Summerdale AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Summerdale 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Summerdale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Summerdale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many Summerdale AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Summerdale AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Summerdale 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.
Summerdale is a rural town in south-central Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. It is the site of the Naval Outlying Field Summerdale. At the 2010 census the population was 862. It is part of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Summerdale is located at 30°29'15.468" North, 87°42'4.036" West (30.487630, -87.701121).Alabama State Route 59 passes along the west side of the town, leading north 5 miles (8 km) to Robertsdale and south 6 miles (10 km) to Foley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 655 people, 255 households, and 184 families residing in the town. The population density was 125.7 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 282 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.23% White, 4.89% Black or African American, 1.07% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Nearly 2.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Summerdale AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Summerdale AL.
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