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How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing College near Opp Alabama

Opp Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing college near Opp AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Opp Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Opp AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job 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. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

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

Nursing School Degree Options

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Opp AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 might 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 receiving 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Opp Alabama RN holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Opp AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Opp 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 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 medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Nurse reading with Opp Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Opp AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within 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 as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Opp AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 certain 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 an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Opp 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 complete 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 Opp AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Opp AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Programs in Opp

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Picking the right nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Opp Alabama.


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