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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing School near Guntersville Alabama

Guntersville Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeFinding the best nursing program near Guntersville AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Guntersville Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Guntersville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Guntersville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically 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 may wish to progress 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 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.

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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Guntersville Alabama Nurse holding health fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Guntersville AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important component of a Guntersville AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN reading with Guntersville Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Guntersville AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Aside from helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining 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 prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, 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 satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship 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

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Choosing the right nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Guntersville Alabama.


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