How to Find the Best RN Program near Robertsdale Alabama
Finding the right nursing program near Robertsdale AL may seem like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Robertsdale AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 School Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 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 Robertsdale 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 job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for some Robertsdale AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Enter the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Robertsdale AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Robertsdale AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Robertsdale 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) along with 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit 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. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Robertsdale 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Robertsdale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 environment. Almost 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 Robertsdale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN School
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Robertsdale Alabama.