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How to Find an Accredited RN School near Forestdale Alabama

Forestdale Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing school near Forestdale AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Forestdale Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Forestdale AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific 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
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

There are several degree options 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 as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Forestdale AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps 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 afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

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

Online Nursing Classes

Forestdale Alabama RN holding medical fileAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many Forestdale AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an essential part of a Forestdale AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of 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 aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

RN interacting with Forestdale Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Forestdale AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Forestdale 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. Certain 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Forestdale 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Forestdale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Forestdale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Courses in Forestdale

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Picking the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 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 Forestdale Alabama.


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