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How to Select the Best Nursing Degree Program near Attalla Alabama

Attalla Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing school near Attalla AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Attalla Alabama RN taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Attalla AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in 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 descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Attalla AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps 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 earn 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 four 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 want to progress 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Attalla Alabama Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many Attalla AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Attalla AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse interacting with Attalla Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Attalla AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Attalla 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Attalla 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Attalla AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Attalla AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Attalla

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN College

Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college 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 short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Attalla Alabama.


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