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How to Choose an Accredited RN Course near Fairhope Alabama

Fairhope Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing program near Fairhope AL may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Fairhope Alabama RN reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Fairhope AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degree Options

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

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive 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 previous 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order 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

Fairhope Alabama RN holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain 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 convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Fairhope AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some 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 economical. 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an essential part of a Fairhope AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors 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 notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse reading with Fairhope Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Fairhope AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Fairhope AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairhope AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Fairhope AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Fairhope AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Fairhope

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School

Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 Fairhope Alabama.


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