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How to Find the Right RN Program near Madison Alabama

Madison Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing college near Madison AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Madison Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Madison AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing 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 advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Madison AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

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

Nursing Online Programs

Madison Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some Madison AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an important component of a Madison 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 go into the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse interacting with Madison Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Madison AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Madison 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Madison AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Madison AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Madison AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Madison

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Picking the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Madison Alabama.


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