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How to Pick the Right Nursing College near Pinson Alabama

Pinson Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeChoosing the best nursing program near Pinson AL may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Pinson Alabama RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Pinson AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There are several degree options available 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Pinson 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 centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Pinson Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Pinson AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral part of a Pinson AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN interacting with Pinson Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Pinson AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Pinson 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Pinson 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 looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pinson AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Pinson AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Programs in Pinson

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Picking the right nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pinson Alabama.


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