How to Pick a Nursing School near Ashville Alabama
Choosing the right nursing college near Ashville AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to choose a nursing school. There are several important additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Ashville AL medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist 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 as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree in Ashville AL may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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.
There are multiple degrees to choose from in Ashville AL to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama 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 want 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Ashville AL, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college in the Ashville AL area or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for 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 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 additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training in Ashville AL and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web in Ashville AL, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Ashville AL, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Ashville AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 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 superb reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of Ashville AL contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Ashville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
About Ashville Alabama
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,260 people, 814 households, and 608 families residing in the town. The population density was 116.9 people per square mile (45.1/km2). There were 905 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.42% White, 26.55% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 814 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families. 22.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.10.
Select the Right RN School near Ashville AL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Ashville AL.
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