How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Program near Selma Alabama
Searching for the right nursing college near Selma AL may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Selma AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing College Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Selma AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps 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 ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Selma AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Selma AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Selma AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 Selma AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Selma AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program
Picking the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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.