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How to Choose the Right Nursing Degree Program near Anniston Alabama

Anniston Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing school near Anniston AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Anniston Alabama nurse taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Anniston AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer 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 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 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Anniston AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as 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) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may wish 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received 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 check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Anniston Alabama RN holding health chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Anniston AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral part of a Anniston AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN reading with Anniston Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Anniston AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably 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 evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Anniston AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Anniston AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Training in Anniston

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing program is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Anniston Alabama.


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