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How to Pick the Right RN Program near Saraland Alabama

Saraland Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeFinding the right nursing program near Saraland AL may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Saraland Alabama RN taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Saraland AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 Available

There are several degree options available 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 two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Saraland AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 might 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Saraland Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Saraland AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Saraland AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

registered nurse reading with Saraland Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Saraland AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start 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 essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Saraland 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. Some states require a specified 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 excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Saraland 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 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 dissatisfied 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 Saraland AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Saraland AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Saraland

Choose the Best Alabama RN College

Deciding on the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Saraland Alabama.


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