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How to Select the Best RN Course near Chickasaw Alabama

Chickasaw Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing program near Chickasaw AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Chickasaw Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Chickasaw AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

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

Nursing College Degrees

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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Chickasaw AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance 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 generally 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 attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Chickasaw Alabama Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Chickasaw AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important part of a Chickasaw AL medical team, and for a 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 enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

registered nurse interacting with Chickasaw Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Chickasaw AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of 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 previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Chickasaw AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Chickasaw AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Chickasaw

Choose the Best Alabama RN College

Selecting the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chickasaw Alabama.


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