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How to Choose an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Spanish Fort Alabama

Spanish Fort Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeSelecting the right nursing program near Spanish Fort AL may seem like a complicated project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Spanish Fort Alabama RN reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Spanish Fort AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

There is more than one degree option 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain 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 Spanish Fort AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has acquired 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 can vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Spanish Fort Alabama Nurse holding medical chartEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Spanish Fort AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 responsibilities have left you with very 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 essential part of a Spanish Fort 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 various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, physician'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. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

RN reading with Spanish Fort Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Spanish Fort AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 Spanish Fort 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 programs 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Spanish Fort AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out More About Enrolling in Nursing Classes in Spanish Fort

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN School

Deciding on the ideal nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Spanish Fort Alabama.


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