How to Select the Right Nursing Course near Meridianville Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Meridianville AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Meridianville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training 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 performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many Meridianville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Meridianville 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 enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of 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 variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Meridianville AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points 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 pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining 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 prerequisites 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. Some states require a certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Meridianville 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 complete 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 good reputation within the Meridianville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Meridianville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN College
Picking the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Meridianville Alabama.