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How to Choose the Right RN Degree Program near Rainsville Alabama

Rainsville Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing college near Rainsville AL may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine 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 healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Rainsville Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Rainsville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of 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 commonly 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 multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Rainsville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Rainsville Alabama Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Rainsville AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an important component of a Rainsville AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Courses

RN reading with Rainsville Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Rainsville AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Rainsville 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 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. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Rainsville 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 schools 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Rainsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Rainsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Classes in Rainsville

Choose the Best Alabama RN College

Picking the right nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Rainsville Alabama.


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