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How to Choose an Accredited RN Course near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing program near Foley AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Foley Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Foley AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two 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 available to aspiring students in the Foley AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares 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 later achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Foley Alabama RN holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for 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 method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some Foley AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Foley AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse interacting with Foley Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Foley AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find 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 judgments 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Foley AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal 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 as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Foley AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Schools in Foley

Choose the Right Alabama RN College

Deciding on the ideal nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Foley Alabama.


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