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How to Choose an Accredited RN School near Guntersville Alabama

Guntersville Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing school near Guntersville AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Guntersville Alabama nurse taking vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Guntersville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 in order 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 advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Guntersville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained 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.

Online Nursing Degrees

Guntersville Alabama Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many Guntersville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy 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 research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse reading with Guntersville Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Guntersville AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality 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 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check 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 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 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 confirm 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 attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Guntersville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Training in Guntersville

Choose the Best Alabama RN Program

Enrolling in the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Guntersville Alabama.


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