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How to Select the Right Nursing School near Chickasaw Alabama

Chickasaw Alabama Nurse checking man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing college near Chickasaw AL may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Chickasaw Alabama nurse taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Chickasaw AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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 duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

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

Nursing College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Chickasaw AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining 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 obtained 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 get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Chickasaw Alabama Nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some Chickasaw AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important component of a Chickasaw AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN reading with Chickasaw Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Chickasaw AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Chickasaw 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) 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 provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet 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, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Chickasaw 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 programs 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Chickasaw AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Chickasaw AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Chickasaw

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School

Picking the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chickasaw Alabama.


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