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How to Find an Accredited Nursing School near East Florence Alabama

East Florence Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near East Florence AL may feel like a difficult project, 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 receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

East Florence Alabama nurse reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as East Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

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

Nursing School Degree Options

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the East Florence AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

East Florence Alabama RN holding medical fileAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some East Florence AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily 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. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an important part of a East Florence AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. 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 physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

registered nurse interacting with East Florence Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near East Florence AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many East Florence AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some East Florence 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the East Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with East Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Degree Programs in East Florence

Choose the Right Alabama RN College

Selecting the right nursing school is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in East Florence Alabama.


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