How to Select the Right RN Training Program near Meadowbrook Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Meadowbrook AL may seem like a challenging project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, 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 program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree alternatives that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Meadowbrook AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly 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 School Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Meadowbrook AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally 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 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving 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 attained 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some Meadowbrook AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Meadowbrook AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, 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, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Meadowbrook AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Meadowbrook 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 Meadowbrook 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 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 favorable reputation within the Meadowbrook AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Meadowbrook AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Alabama RN College
Selecting the right nursing college is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Meadowbrook Alabama.