How to Select an Accredited Nursing Degree Program near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college near Pleasant Grove AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Pleasant Grove AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degrees
There are several degree options 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Pleasant Grove AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 might wish to progress 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Pleasant Grove AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Pleasant Grove AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a passion to tend 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, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Pleasant Grove AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Pleasant Grove AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Pleasant Grove 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 colleges you are looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Pleasant Grove AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get 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 mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Pleasant Grove AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School
Selecting the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college 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 create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pleasant Grove Alabama.