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How to Find the Best Nursing School near Smiths Station Alabama

Smiths Station Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Smiths Station AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Smiths Station Alabama RN taking blodd pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Smiths Station AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There are several degree options to choose from 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 just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Smiths Station AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically 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 wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly 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.

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. 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 Classes

Smiths Station Alabama Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some Smiths Station AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Smiths Station AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

registered nurse reading with Smiths Station Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Smiths Station AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Smiths Station 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Smiths Station 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Smiths Station AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Smiths Station AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Courses in Smiths Station

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN College

Deciding on the right nursing degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Smiths Station Alabama.


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