How to Pick a Nursing School near Bessemer Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Bessemer AL may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along 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 numerous different medical environments, including Bessemer AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Bessemer AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Other 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.
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Bessemer AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with 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 might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Bessemer AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Bessemer AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Bessemer AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bessemer 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Bessemer AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Bessemer AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Bessemer 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.
Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, named after Henry Bessemer and owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben. He had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. Located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Bessemer grew rapidly and its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power.
Given the iron ore, coal and limestone deposits in the area, the city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. It attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population.
Select the Right Nursing Degree near Bessemer AL
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Bessemer AL.
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