How to Enroll In a Nursing Program near Sylacauga Alabama
Locating the best nursing school near Sylacauga AL may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Sylacauga AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally 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 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Sylacauga AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Sylacauga AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. 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 requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Sylacauga AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Sylacauga AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sylacauga 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 programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Sylacauga AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Sylacauga AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Sylacauga AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Sylacauga 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.
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 4 kg (9 lb) piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first settlers in the Coosa River Valley were the Creek Indians whose later encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 by Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier.
Enroll in the Right Nursing College near Sylacauga AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Sylacauga AL.
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