How to Choose an Accredited RN College near Robertsdale Alabama
Searching for the best nursing school near Robertsdale AL may seem like a difficult project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Robertsdale AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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
There is more than one degree option 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain 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 Robertsdale AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 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 achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might wish to progress 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Robertsdale AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Robertsdale 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 research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. 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 doctors. Nurses often choose 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 aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Robertsdale AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines 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 essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Robertsdale AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Robertsdale 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 considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Robertsdale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Robertsdale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School
Enrolling in the right nursing program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Robertsdale Alabama.