How to Enroll In the Best Nursing School near Cullman Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Cullman AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Cullman AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Cullman AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost 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 method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Cullman AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an important component of a Cullman AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Cullman AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cullman AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Cullman 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 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 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 good reputation within the Cullman AL medical 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Cullman AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alabama RN Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Cullman Alabama.