How to Enroll In an Accredited RN College near Prichard Alabama
Selecting the best nursing school near Prichard AL may feel like a challenging 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 proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Prichard AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the care 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. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Prichard AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Prichard AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as 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 pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an integral part of a Prichard AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Prichard AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of 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 workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Prichard 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Prichard 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Prichard AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Prichard AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN College
Deciding on the ideal nursing college is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prichard Alabama.