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How to Select the Right RN Course near Greenville Alabama

Greenville Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing program near Greenville AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly 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 must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Greenville Alabama RN taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Greenville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degrees

There are multiple degrees 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Greenville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Greenville Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Greenville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential component of a Greenville AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

registered nurse reading with Greenville Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Greenville AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Greenville 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Greenville 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Greenville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Greenville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Degree Programs in Greenville

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN College

Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you select a nursing school 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 develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Greenville Alabama.


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