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How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near Leeds Alabama

Leeds Alabama Nurse checking man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing school near Leeds AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Leeds Alabama nurse reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Leeds 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 few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating 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 advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees available 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain 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 Leeds AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including 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 extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Schools

Leeds Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Leeds AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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 very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Leeds AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

registered nurse reading with Leeds Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Leeds AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site 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 emphasized, they should not be your only 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Leeds AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy 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 each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Leeds 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Leeds AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Leeds AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Leeds

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN College

Picking the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Leeds Alabama.


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