How to Select the Best RN Program near Monroeville Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Monroeville AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Monroeville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degree Options
There are multiple degrees 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 just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Monroeville AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps 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 ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Monroeville AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an integral component of a Monroeville AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Monroeville AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Monroeville 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 delivers a top-notch 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 services to see what the assessments 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 find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Monroeville 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 schools 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 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 Monroeville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Monroeville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN Program
Selecting the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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 Monroeville Alabama.