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How to Pick the Right Nursing Course near Orange Beach Alabama

Orange Beach Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeFinding the right nursing college near Orange Beach AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Orange Beach Alabama RN reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Orange Beach 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. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing 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 example, 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 Degrees

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations 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 normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares 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 subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress 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 typically a two year program after acquiring 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 attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Orange Beach Alabama RN holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many Orange Beach AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Orange Beach AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment 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 extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose 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 number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse reading with Orange Beach Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Orange Beach AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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 requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Orange Beach AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Orange Beach AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements 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.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Orange Beach

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Picking the right nursing college is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Orange Beach Alabama.


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