How to Select an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Forestdale Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Forestdale AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Forestdale AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Forestdale AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers 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 comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Forestdale AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an integral part of a Forestdale AL medical team, and for many 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 many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting 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 instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Forestdale AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 criteria 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Forestdale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alabama RN School
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Forestdale Alabama.