How to Find the Right RN College near Roanoke Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Roanoke AL may feel like a complex project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Roanoke AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment 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. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 School Degrees
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Roanoke AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available 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 ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive 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 may wish to advance 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 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many Roanoke AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an integral component of a Roanoke AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its personal and practical rewards. 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 physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Roanoke AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Roanoke 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Roanoke 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 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 good reputation within the Roanoke AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Roanoke AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN College
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Roanoke Alabama.