How to Enroll In the Right RN School near Meridianville Alabama
Searching for the right nursing program near Meridianville AL may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Meridianville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities 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
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees
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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Meridianville AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as 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 extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Meridianville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more 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 family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an essential component of a Meridianville AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Meridianville AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Meridianville AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. 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 speak with some Meridianville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 Meridianville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Meridianville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Meridianville Alabama.