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How to Select an Accredited RN Program near Guntersville Alabama

Guntersville Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing school near Guntersville AL may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Guntersville Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Guntersville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two 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 offered to aspiring students in the Guntersville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 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.

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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Guntersville Alabama RN holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Guntersville AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an important part of a Guntersville AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health 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 deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse interacting with Guntersville Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Guntersville AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 are different 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Guntersville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Guntersville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Guntersville

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School

Choosing the right nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must think about when choosing 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 pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Guntersville Alabama.


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