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How to Pick an Accredited Nursing Program near Pinson Alabama

Pinson Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing college near Pinson AL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check into 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 offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Pinson Alabama RN reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Pinson AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are multiple degrees 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain 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 Pinson AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Further 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.

Nursing Online Schools

Pinson Alabama Nurse holding health fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Pinson AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral part of a Pinson 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 go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Programs

registered nurse reading with Pinson Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Pinson AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 vary 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Pinson 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 colleges 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Pinson AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Pinson AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Pinson

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School

Choosing the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pinson Alabama.


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