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How to Choose the Best RN Course near Fairhope Alabama

Fairhope Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing college near Fairhope AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Fairhope Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Fairhope AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment 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. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing 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 normally 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 Degrees

There are multiple degrees 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 2 years, or advance 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 Fairhope 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 job 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) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Fairhope Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Fairhope AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Fairhope AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education 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. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN reading with Fairhope Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Fairhope AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. 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 pick measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium 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 prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Fairhope 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairhope AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Fairhope AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Classes in Fairhope

Choose the Right Alabama RN College

Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Fairhope Alabama.


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