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How to Select the Best Nursing Degree Program near Talladega Alabama

Talladega Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeChoosing the right nursing school near Talladega AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, 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 research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Talladega Alabama nurse reading vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Talladega AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degree Options

There is more than one degree option 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Talladega 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 position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Degrees

Talladega Alabama RN holding health fileAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some Talladega AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Talladega AL medical team, and for many 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 go into the profession for several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often go into the profession due to a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

RN reading with Talladega Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Talladega AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly 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 to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Talladega 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 certain 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 provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Talladega AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Talladega AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Talladega AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Colleges in Talladega

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Selecting the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Talladega Alabama.


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