How To Become A Nurse In Alabama

Nursing is a great career choice, no matter what level you decide to work at. Nursing is a career that you are constantly learning so your skills do not become “out of date” like many other professions. If you have never worked in the medical field, but are considering going into nursing, you have the option to go to school for a short amount of time to become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), attain a job in the nursing field to make sure the career is for you. If you decide you want to go further, you have the option to attain an Associate’s Degree (ADN), Bachelor’s Degree (BSN) or even a Master’s Degree (MSN) in Nursing. Once you become an LPN, you can choose to continue your education as far as you choose to attain the level of nursing skill you desire. To become an LPN you can spend as little as a year in school, or four years or more to attain higher degrees. While the scope of practice, or care they are legally allowed to provide, is somewhat limited, for those who have never worked in the medical field it is a great introduction to what is involved. For those that already work in the medical field and want to attain a degree in nursing, you can choose what level of nursing you wish to attain from the beginning rather than just taking the minimum. No matter what level of nursing you wish to attain, you want to make sure the Alabama Board of Nursing accredits the school you attend. The Board of Nursing makes sure that each school follows the correct curriculum to make sure you receive not only a thorough education, but also one that prepare you for the national exams to obtain your license.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Becoming an LPN is a good start if you have never worked in the medical field and want to go into nursing. Becoming an LPN requires between 12 and 18 months of school depending on if you are able to attend full time or part time. Most local community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools offer LPN training at an affordable price. Just be sure whatever school you plan on attending is accredited with the Alabama Board of Nursing. Nursing is a popular course of study so do not be discouraged if you have to be put on a waiting list for your actually nursing classes. Use the time you are waiting to take all of your pre-requisites as well as some extra courses if you have the time and finances to do so. Once you successfully complete your LPN training, you are then able to take the NCLEX-PN or National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. The exam has four sections, Safe Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychological Integrity and Physiological Integrity. You must pass all segments of the test in order to pass the exam in full.

While you have a very limited scope of practice, or care you are legally allowed to provide patients, but it is the best way to determine if the nursing field is the right career choice for you. While working as an LPN you cannot pass medications or provide IV (intravenous) Therapy for patients, but with further training, you can provide this type of care within your scope of practice. Depending on the facility where you find employment, they may also pay for you to obtain further training as well as provide tuition assistance if you choose to go onto a further level of nursing education.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you have already worked in the nursing field as an LPN or even a nursing assistant and are sure that you want to stay in the medical field, you can enroll in school to become an RN even if you are not currently an LPN. You have the choice of attaining an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or even Master’s Degree in Nursing. The higher level you attain the larger your scope of practice becomes, and you can choose to specialize in a specific area of nursing, such as geriatric, or work in Nurse Management. Just as with the LPN schooling, you want to make sure that the school you plan to enroll in is accredited by the Alabama Board of Nursing. If you prefer smaller classes and more one on one schooling, you can inquire into nursing schools located in hospitals in your area. Nursing schools located in hospitals usually only accept those with exceptionally good grades and will often test potential students to make sure they will adapt to the intensity of the nursing programs they offer. Wherever you decide to get your education, you must successfully complete your schooling at a specific level in order to be able to take the NCLEX-RN or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. The test is similar to the one given to future LPNs, but the level of the questions is more advanced to accommodate for the advanced level of education. You must successfully pass all sections of the exam in order to pass the exam and obtain your RN license.

Being an RN provides you with a larger scope of practice than what you are limited to as an LPN. Being an RN, you are required to use your nursing judgment to make decision regarding many aspects of patient care and providing patient care itself. Part of being an RN also includes supervising LPN’s and providing patient care they are unable to provide.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

When becoming an RN you have different levels of education to choose from. You can attain your Associate’s Degree and practice as an RN or you can obtain your Bachelor’s Degree and practice at a higher level of nursing as well as specialize in a specific medical field or work in nursing management. With either choice, you can work in many different areas of medicine from a hospital emergency room setting, to a hospital floor to even a private practice in a physician’s office. As with most jobs in the medical field, most employers offer some type of tuition assistance to allow you to further your education in your chosen field. If you want to work in all areas of a hospital then you may want to just obtain your associate’s degree, but if you have a particular field you know you want to specialize in then it is probably better to obtain you Bachelor’s Degree.

Every level of nursing requires that you keep up to date on your skills and are current in advancements in the nursing field by taking Continuing Education (CE) courses. You are required to take a certain number of hours per year in order to keep your licensure current. Depending on the medical setting that you work in you can usually take these classes offered by your place of employment, or if they are not available, they can be taken online.

Nursing Schools in Alabama

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Alabama Nursing Schools

107 Miller Hall
Auburn, Alabama 36849
Phone: 334-844-6752

Lurleen B. Wallace College of Nursing
700 Pelham Road
North Jacksonville, Alabama 36265-9982
Phone: 256-782-5428

7000 Adventist Blvd.
Huntsville, Alabama 35896
Phone: 256-726-7287
5355 Vaughn Road
Montgomery, Alabama 36116
Phone: 334-395-8800

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