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How to Choose the Right RN Program near Millbrook Alabama

Millbrook Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Millbrook AL may feel like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Millbrook Alabama RN taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Millbrook AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two 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 Millbrook 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 healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job 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.

Once 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Millbrook Alabama Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Millbrook AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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. So if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral part of a Millbrook AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. 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 doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

registered nurse interacting with Millbrook Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Millbrook AL or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Millbrook AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. 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 call some Millbrook 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 colleges 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Millbrook AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Millbrook AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Millbrook

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Millbrook Alabama.


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