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How to Find the Best RN School near Pelham Alabama

Pelham Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing school near Pelham AL may seem like a complicated project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Pelham Alabama nurse taking blodd pressure of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Pelham AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid 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 along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve 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 Pelham AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 might wish 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 typically a two 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.

When 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Pelham Alabama Nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and acquire 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 carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some Pelham AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an important component of a Pelham AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment 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 instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Pelham Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Pelham AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points 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 evaluate how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Pelham AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Pelham 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Pelham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Pelham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Courses in Pelham

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pelham Alabama.


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