How to Enroll In the Right RN College near Rainbow City Alabama
Selecting the right nursing college near Rainbow City AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Rainbow City AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Rainbow City 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 such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Rainbow City 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 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Rainbow City AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Rainbow City AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Rainbow City AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy 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 each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Rainbow City 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 considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Rainbow City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Rainbow City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Alabama RN Program
Choosing the right nursing degree program is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Rainbow City Alabama.