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How to Choose the Right Nursing College near Prattville Alabama

Prattville Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Prattville AL may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Prattville Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Prattville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring 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 more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There is more than one degree option offered 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 two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Prattville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally 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 progress 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring 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 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 vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Schools

Prattville Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Prattville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. 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 program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Prattville AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into 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 ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse reading with Prattville Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Prattville AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Prattville AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews 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 check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Prattville 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 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Prattville

Choose the Best Alabama RN Program

Picking the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prattville Alabama.


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