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How to Pick an Accredited RN Training Program near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Foley AL may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Foley Alabama RN taking vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Foley AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 School Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Foley AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Foley Alabama Nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Foley AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Foley 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, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. 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 physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

registered nurse interacting with Foley Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Foley AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, 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 preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Foley AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 superb reputation within the Foley AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Foley AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Courses in Foley

Choose the Right Alabama RN College

Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Foley Alabama.


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