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How to Pick the Best Nursing College near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing program near Foley AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Foley Alabama RN reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Foley AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing 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 commonly 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 enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Foley AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 advance 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Foley Alabama Nurse holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Foley AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential component of a Foley AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research 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 individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to 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 side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse reading with Foley Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Foley AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Foley 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, 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 Foley 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Foley AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Foley AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Degree Programs in Foley

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the ideal nursing school is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Foley Alabama.


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