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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Course near Sylacauga Alabama

Sylacauga Alabama RN checking patient with stethoscopeFinding the right nursing college near Sylacauga AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Sylacauga Alabama RN taking blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Sylacauga AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact 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
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally 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

There are several degree options available 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 earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Sylacauga AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 desire to progress 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 two year program after attaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Degrees

Sylacauga Alabama RN holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Sylacauga AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Sylacauga AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

RN reading with Sylacauga Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Sylacauga AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Sylacauga AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Sylacauga 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 colleges you are looking at 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Sylacauga AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Sylacauga AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Schools in Sylacauga

Choose the Right Alabama RN Program

Deciding on the right nursing school is arguably the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sylacauga Alabama.


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