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How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Orange Beach Alabama

Orange Beach Alabama Nurse examining man with stethoscopeChoosing the best nursing program near Orange Beach AL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Orange Beach Alabama RN taking vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Orange Beach AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 School Degrees

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain 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 available to aspiring students in the Orange Beach AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as 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) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 may wish to advance 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Orange Beach Alabama RN holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Orange Beach AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Orange Beach AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, 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 go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

RN interacting with Orange Beach Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Orange Beach AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Orange Beach 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Orange Beach AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Orange Beach AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Orange Beach AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Orange Beach

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School

Picking the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must take into account when selecting 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 article, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Orange Beach Alabama.


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