How to Find an Accredited RN Course near Hamilton Alabama
Searching for the right nursing program near Hamilton AL may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Hamilton AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 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 attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Hamilton AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies 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) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Hamilton AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper 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 many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Hamilton AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hamilton AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, 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 as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hamilton 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Hamilton 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 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 displeased 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 Hamilton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hamilton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alabama RN College
Enrolling in the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hamilton Alabama.