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How to Select an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Hamilton Alabama

Hamilton Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeChoosing the best nursing school near Hamilton AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Hamilton Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Hamilton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing 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 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are several degree options offered 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 continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Hamilton AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain 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 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she 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 don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Hamilton Alabama Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number 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 practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Hamilton AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral component of a Hamilton AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into 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 ailments. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse reading with Hamilton Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Hamilton AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hamilton 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hamilton AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Hamilton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Hamilton

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Selecting the ideal nursing college is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hamilton Alabama.


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