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How to Pick the Best RN Course near Fairfield Alabama

Fairfield Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing program near Fairfield AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Fairfield 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 settings, including Fairfield AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 are several degree options 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn 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 Fairfield AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a two 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.

When a graduating student has acquired 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 fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Fairfield Alabama RN holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number 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 practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Fairfield AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Fairfield AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

registered nurse interacting with Fairfield Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Fairfield AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. 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 reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Fairfield 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 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Fairfield 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairfield AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Fairfield AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Fairfield

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Picking the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairfield Alabama.


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