How to Select an Accredited RN School near Calera Alabama
Finding the right nursing college near Calera AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Calera AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degrees Available
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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Calera AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many Calera AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Calera AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue 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, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Calera AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Calera AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Calera 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 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Calera AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Calera AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program
Picking the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Calera Alabama.