How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near Andalusia Alabama
Locating the best nursing school near Andalusia AL may feel like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Andalusia AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 College Degrees
There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Andalusia AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 may want to advance 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. 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 many Andalusia AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an essential component of a Andalusia AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, 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, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Andalusia AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Andalusia AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Andalusia AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Andalusia AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Andalusia AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alabama RN College
Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Andalusia Alabama.