How to Select the Best Nursing Training Program near Hueytown Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Hueytown 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 presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Hueytown AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic 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 area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 multiple degrees 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 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Hueytown AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 might want 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. 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 college for some Hueytown AL students. Pertaining to 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 minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important component of a Hueytown AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hueytown AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hueytown 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hueytown AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 Hueytown AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Hueytown AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN College
Picking the right nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hueytown Alabama.