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How to Find the Right RN Training Program near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing college near Alabaster AL may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Alabaster Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Alabaster AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 might 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Alabaster Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Alabaster AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. 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. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral part of a Alabaster AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse reading with Alabaster Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Alabaster AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Alabaster 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 colleges you are considering 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 favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Alabaster

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Deciding on the ideal nursing college is arguably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alabaster Alabama.


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