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How to Find the Best Nursing Course near Clay Alabama

Clay Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeFinding the right nursing program near Clay AL may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Clay Alabama nurse reading vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Clay AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And 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 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Clay AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually 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 achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Clay Alabama RN holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Clay AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly 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 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 household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral component of a Clay AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, 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 setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Clay Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Clay AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Clay AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Clay 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Clay AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Clay AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Courses in Clay

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the ideal nursing college is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 Clay Alabama.


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