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How to Select the Best Nursing Course near Spanish Fort Alabama

Spanish Fort Alabama RN examining man with stethoscopeLocating the right nursing school near Spanish Fort AL may feel like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Spanish Fort Alabama nurse reading vital signs of senior female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Spanish Fort AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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 School Degrees

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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Spanish Fort AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may want 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Spanish Fort Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some Spanish Fort AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Spanish Fort 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 enter the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. 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 often choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges

RN interacting with Spanish Fort Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Spanish Fort AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Spanish Fort AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Spanish Fort 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 schools you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Spanish Fort AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Spanish Fort AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Spanish Fort

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick 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 Spanish Fort Alabama.


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