How to Choose the Right RN Program near Anniston Alabama
Locating the best nursing college near Anniston AL may seem like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Anniston AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Anniston AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive 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 prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many Anniston AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an important component of a Anniston AL medical team, and for a large number of 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 several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Anniston AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing 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 criteria 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Anniston AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Anniston AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School
Picking the right nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing school 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 create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Anniston Alabama.