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How to Choose the Best Nursing School near Selma Alabama

Selma Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing college near Selma AL may seem like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional things to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Selma Alabama nurse taking vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Selma AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating 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), as an 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 College Degrees Available

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Selma AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Selma Alabama Nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Selma AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Selma AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Selma Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Selma AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Selma AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Selma AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Selma AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Selma AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Courses in Selma

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School

Enrolling in the right nursing school is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Selma Alabama.


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