How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Program near Bay Minette Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Bay Minette AL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Bay Minette AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Bay Minette AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many Bay Minette AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an integral part of a Bay Minette AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several 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 commonly choose the profession out of a passion to tend 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 health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Bay Minette AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bay Minette AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Bay Minette 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Bay Minette AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Bay Minette AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bay Minette Alabama.