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How to Enroll In the Right RN Program near Oxford Alabama

Oxford Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeChoosing the right nursing program near Oxford AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future 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 house is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Oxford Alabama nurse taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Oxford AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 College Degrees

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain 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 descriptions 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 position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 advance 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing 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 Schools

Oxford Alabama RN holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Oxford AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential component of a Oxford AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most significant 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 go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

RN interacting with Oxford Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Oxford AL or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 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 speak with some Oxford 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 colleges 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 Oxford AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Oxford AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Training in Oxford

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program

Picking the right nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oxford Alabama.


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