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How to Choose the Right RN Training Program near Selma Alabama

Selma Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing program near Selma AL may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Selma Alabama nurse reading vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Selma AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And 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 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally 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 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Selma Alabama RN holding health fileAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some Selma AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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. So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy 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 nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

registered nurse interacting with Selma Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Selma AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 vary 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. 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 provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Selma AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Degree Programs in Selma

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Selma Alabama.


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