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How to Find the Right Nursing School near Brook Highland Alabama

Brook Highland Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Brook Highland AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don't know 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 in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Brook Highland Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Brook Highland AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent 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
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing School Degree Options

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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations 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 generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Brook Highland Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Brook Highland AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Brook Highland 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, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse interacting with Brook Highland Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Brook Highland AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost 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 prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 requirements 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. Some 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 provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Brook Highland 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Brook Highland AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Brook Highland AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Brook Highland

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school 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 choose 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 Brook Highland Alabama.


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