How to Select the Best RN Program near Brook Highland Alabama
Locating the best nursing school near Brook Highland AL may seem like a formidable project, 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 in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Brook Highland AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered 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 advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Brook Highland AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Brook Highland AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an essential part of a Brook Highland 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 healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Brook Highland AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brook Highland 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Brook Highland 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Brook Highland AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Brook Highland AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alabama RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Brook Highland Alabama.