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How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Oxford Alabama

Oxford Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing school near Oxford AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire 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 prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Oxford Alabama nurse taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Oxford AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option 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 continue on to achieve 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 Oxford AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 employment market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Schools

Oxford Alabama Nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Oxford AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Oxford AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

Nurse interacting with Oxford Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Oxford AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Oxford AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Oxford 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 programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Oxford AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Oxford AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Classes in Oxford

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program

Choosing the right nursing school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oxford Alabama.


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