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How to Choose the Right RN Training Program near Pell City Alabama

Pell City Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeSearching for the right nursing school near Pell City AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Pell City Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Pell City AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

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

Nursing College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain 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 Pell City AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 may want to advance 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

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

Nursing Online Schools

Pell City Alabama RN holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Pell City AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an essential part of a Pell City AL medical team, and for a number of 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 go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose 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 human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse reading with Pell City Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Pell City AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Pell City 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 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. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Pell City 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pell City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Pell City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Training in Pell City

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Choosing the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pell City Alabama.


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