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How to Select the Best RN Course near Scottsboro Alabama

Scottsboro Alabama Nurse examining patient with stethoscopeChoosing the right nursing college near Scottsboro AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Scottsboro Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly woman

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

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degree Options

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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Scottsboro AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance 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) in order to become licensed. Various 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 mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Scottsboro Alabama Nurse holding health fileAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many Scottsboro AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Scottsboro AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead 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 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 commonly choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive 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 progress into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse interacting with Scottsboro Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Scottsboro AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Scottsboro 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Scottsboro 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 programs you are considering 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Scottsboro AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsboro AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Colleges in Scottsboro

Choose the Right Alabama RN School

Picking the ideal nursing college is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Scottsboro Alabama.


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