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How to Choose the Right RN College near Greenville Alabama

Greenville Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing college near Greenville AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Greenville Alabama nurse taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Greenville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

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

Nursing College Degrees

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 obtain 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 Greenville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained 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 be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Greenville Alabama Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Greenville AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important part 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, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various 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 setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

registered nurse reading with Greenville Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Greenville AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease 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 as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 often 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 prerequisites 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. 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 contact some Greenville 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Greenville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Greenville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Greenville

Choose the Best Alabama RN School

Deciding on the right nursing degree program is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing college 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 develop 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Greenville Alabama.


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