How to Enroll In the Best RN Degree Program near Alexander City Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Alexander City AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely 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 most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Alexander City AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Alexander City AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available 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 ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Alexander City AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Alexander City AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Alexander City AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Alexander City AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alexander City 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 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 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 Alexander City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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 mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Alexander City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School
Selecting the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alexander City Alabama.