How to Select a Nursing College near Troy Alabama
Selecting the best nursing college near Troy AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Troy AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Troy 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 including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Troy AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three 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 instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential 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 suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Troy AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Troy AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Troy AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 favorable reputation within the Troy AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Troy AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Troy AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Troy AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Troy 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.
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy sits was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,033. The 2016 estimated population was 19,191. The City of Troy is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama. Troy is a college town and is home to Troy University, the fourth-largest university in total enrollment in the state of Alabama.
For many centuries, the area in and around Troy was settled by different tribes of Native Americans, but became primarily known for its Muskogee Creek presence. Most Creek tribes lived along rivers or streams at that time. Near the Troy area, many Native Americans settled around the Conecuh River and the Pea River.
Select the Right Nursing Program near Troy AL
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Troy AL.
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