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How to Pick an Accredited Nursing School near Roanoke Alabama

Roanoke Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the best nursing school near Roanoke AL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Roanoke Alabama nurse reading vital signs of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Roanoke AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There are multiple degrees 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short 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 normally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a 2 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, 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 make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Roanoke Alabama RN holding health chartAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Roanoke AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an essential component of a Roanoke AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of 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 progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

registered nurse reading with Roanoke Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Roanoke AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Roanoke AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Roanoke 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 schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Roanoke AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Roanoke AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Schools in Roanoke

Choose the Right Alabama RN College

Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Roanoke Alabama.


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