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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Degree Program near Orange Beach Alabama

Orange Beach Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing college near Orange Beach AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Orange Beach Alabama nurse reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Orange Beach AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing School Degree Options

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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Orange Beach AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Orange Beach Alabama Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted 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 Orange Beach AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Orange Beach AL medical team, and for many 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 many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse reading with Orange Beach Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if 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 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 previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. 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 contact some Orange Beach 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 superb reputation within the Orange Beach AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Orange Beach AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Programs in Orange Beach

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School

Selecting the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate 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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