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How to Find the Right Nursing Training Program near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing program near Alabaster AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Alabaster Alabama RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Alabaster AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Alabaster AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Alabaster Alabama RN holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Alabaster AL 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 may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Alabaster AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

registered nurse interacting with Alabaster Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Alabaster AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 schools 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Courses in Alabaster

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School

Deciding on the right nursing school is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing 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 short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alabaster Alabama.


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