How to Find an Accredited Nursing Program near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the right nursing program near Anniston AL may feel like a complicated project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Anniston AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Anniston AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Anniston AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential component of a Anniston AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Anniston AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Anniston 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Anniston AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Anniston AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Anniston AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School
Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Anniston Alabama.