How to Pick the Best Nursing Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Finding the best nursing program near Prattville AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Prattville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive 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 available to aspiring students in the Prattville AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Prattville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an important component of a Prattville AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prattville AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain 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 delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School
Selecting the right nursing college is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prattville Alabama.