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How to Pick the Best Nursing Course near Lanett Alabama

Lanett Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing college near Lanett AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Lanett Alabama RN reading vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Lanett AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are several degree options available 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve 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 Lanett AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive 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 may want 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 generally 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 earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Lanett Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Lanett AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Lanett AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse reading with Lanett Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Lanett AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many 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 workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. 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 selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Lanett AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps 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 agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Lanett 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Lanett AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Lanett AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Programs in Lanett

Choose the Best Alabama RN College

Enrolling in the right nursing school is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 Lanett Alabama.


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