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How to Find the Right RN Course near Pike Road Alabama

Pike Road Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing program near Pike Road AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Pike Road Alabama RN taking vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Pike Road AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities 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
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There is more than one degree option available 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain 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 Pike Road 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 healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Pike Road Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some Pike Road AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential part of a Pike Road AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Nurse reading with Pike Road Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Pike Road AL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Pike Road 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 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Pike Road 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pike Road AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Pike Road AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Pike Road

Choose the Right Alabama RN College

Picking the ideal nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pike Road Alabama.


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