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How to Pick the Right Nursing Training Program near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing college near Phenix City AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Phenix City Alabama nurse taking vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Phenix City AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing 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), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There are multiple degrees 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 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 available to aspiring students in the Phenix City AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Phenix City Alabama Nurse holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Phenix City AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 job and family responsibilities 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 active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important part of a Phenix City AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse reading with Phenix City Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Phenix City AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Phenix City 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 schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phenix City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Phenix City

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN College

Choosing the right nursing school is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Phenix City Alabama.


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