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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing School near Bay Minette Alabama

Bay Minette Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing college near Bay Minette AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already 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 research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Bay Minette Alabama RN taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Bay Minette AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Bay Minette AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) to become licensed. Further 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 Classes

Bay Minette Alabama Nurse holding health fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Bay Minette AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other 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. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential component of a Bay Minette AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of 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 health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, including 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. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

RN interacting with Bay Minette Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Bay Minette AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bay Minette 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bay Minette AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Bay Minette AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Training in Bay Minette

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Picking the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you select 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 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bay Minette Alabama.


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