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How to Find the Best Nursing College near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeChoosing the right nursing program near Enterprise AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Enterprise Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Enterprise AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing 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 higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 School Degrees

There is more than one degree option available 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 continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Enterprise AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered 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) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress 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 instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has received 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Enterprise Alabama RN holding health fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Enterprise AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral component of a Enterprise AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of 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 individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer 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 health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of 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 advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

RN interacting with Enterprise Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Enterprise AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Enterprise 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Enterprise 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Enterprise AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Enterprise AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Programs in Enterprise

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program

Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Enterprise Alabama.


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