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How to Choose the Best Nursing Degree Program near Enterprise Alabama

Enterprise Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing program near Enterprise AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Enterprise Alabama RN reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Enterprise 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 be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degree Options

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

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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 change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Enterprise Alabama Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many Enterprise AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps 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 indispensable part of a Enterprise AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

registered nurse interacting with Enterprise Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Enterprise AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 vary 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers 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. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Enterprise 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 programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Enterprise AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check 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 Enrolling in Nursing Training in Enterprise

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Enrolling in the right nursing college is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Enterprise Alabama.


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