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How to Pick the Best RN Program near Guntersville Alabama

Guntersville Alabama Nurse checking man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing school near Guntersville AL may seem like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Guntersville Alabama RN taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Guntersville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting 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 complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Guntersville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Guntersville Alabama RN holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Guntersville AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations 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 hectic schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Guntersville AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Nurse reading with Guntersville Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Guntersville AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Guntersville AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Many states require a specified 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 provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all 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 call some Guntersville 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Guntersville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Guntersville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Courses in Guntersville

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Enrolling in the right nursing college is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Guntersville Alabama.


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