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How to Find an Accredited RN School near Oxford Alabama

Oxford Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeChoosing the best nursing program near Oxford AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Oxford Alabama nurse taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Oxford AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, 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 duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

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

There is more than one degree option offered 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 advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 might 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 generally a two year program after obtaining 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 received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Oxford Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Oxford AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral part of a Oxford AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many 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. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

RN reading with Oxford Alabama nursing home patientNow that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Oxford AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 prerequisites 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. Some states require a specified 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 outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Oxford AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Oxford AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Oxford

Choose the Best Alabama RN School

Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 Oxford Alabama.


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