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How to Pick the Best RN Program near Sylacauga Alabama

Sylacauga Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing program near Sylacauga AL may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Sylacauga Alabama RN taking blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Sylacauga AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting 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 high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees Available

There are several degree options offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Sylacauga AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Sylacauga Alabama Nurse holding health fileEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Sylacauga AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family 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 active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Sylacauga AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse reading with Sylacauga Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Sylacauga AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Sylacauga 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sylacauga 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 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Sylacauga AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Colleges in Sylacauga

Choose the Best Alabama RN Program

Picking the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sylacauga Alabama.


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