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How to Find the Right Nursing Course near Opelika Alabama

Opelika Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing program near Opelika AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Opelika Alabama RN reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Opelika AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

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

Nursing College Degrees

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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Opelika AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance 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 two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired 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 fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Opelika Alabama RN holding health fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Opelika AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral part of a Opelika AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing 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 meaningful 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 doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion 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 side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse reading with Opelika Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Opelika AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Opelika 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, 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 prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Opelika 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Training in Opelika

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School

Choosing the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Opelika Alabama.


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