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How to Choose an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Guntersville Alabama

Guntersville Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing program near Guntersville AL may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Guntersville Alabama RN reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Guntersville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 multiple degrees to choose from 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Guntersville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after attaining 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 earned 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Guntersville Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many Guntersville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with very little 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 Nursing?

Nurses are an integral part of a Guntersville AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse interacting with Guntersville Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Guntersville AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Guntersville AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Guntersville 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 programs 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 good reputation within the Guntersville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Guntersville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Guntersville

Choose the Best Alabama RN Program

Picking the right nursing college is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Guntersville Alabama.


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