How to Choose a Nursing Program near Coaling Alabama
Choosing the best nursing college near Coaling AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially 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 obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Coaling AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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.
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Coaling AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Alabama approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Coaling AL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Coaling AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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 work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Coaling AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Coaling 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Coaling 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 colleges 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 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 Coaling AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Coaling AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Coaling AL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Coaling 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.
A coaling tower, coal stage or coaling station is a facility used to load coal as fuel into railway steam locomotives. Coaling towers were often sited at motive power depots or locomotive maintenance shops.
Coaling towers were constructed of wood, steel-reinforced concrete, or steel. In almost all cases coaling stations used a gravity fed method, with one or more large storage bunkers for the coal elevated on columns above the railway tracks, from which the coal could be released to slide down a chute into the waiting locomotive's coal storage area. The method of lifting the bulk coal into the storage bin varied. The coal usually was dropped from a hopper car into a pit below tracks adjacent to the tower. From the pit a conveyor-type system used a chain of motor-driven buckets to raise the coal to the top of the tower where it would be dumped into the storage bin; a skip-hoist system lifted a single large bin for the same purpose. Some facilities lifted entire railway coal trucks or wagons. Sanding pipes were often mounted on coaling towers to allow simultaneous replenishment of a locomotive's sand box.
As railroads transitioned from the use of steam locomotives to the use of diesel locomotives in the 1950s the need for coaling towers ended. Many reinforced concrete towers remain in place if they do not interfere with operations due to the high cost of demolition incurred with these massive structures.
Select the Right Nursing College near Coaling AL
Deciding on the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Coaling AL.
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