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How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Homewood Alabama

Homewood Alabama Nurse checking man with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing program near Homewood AL may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Homewood Alabama nurse reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Homewood AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And 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 continue on to attain 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 Homewood AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

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

Nursing Online Degrees

Homewood Alabama RN holding health chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Homewood AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Homewood AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, 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 instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. 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 progress into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse interacting with Homewood Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Homewood AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Homewood AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Homewood 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Homewood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Homewood AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Colleges in Homewood

Choose the Best Alabama RN Program

Choosing the right nursing program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Homewood Alabama.


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