How to Choose an Accredited RN Program near Talladega Alabama
Locating the best nursing school near Talladega AL may seem like a difficult project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Talladega AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide 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 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 continue on to achieve 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 Talladega AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain 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 allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Talladega AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue 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 Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an important part of a Talladega AL medical team, and for a large number of 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 various reasons, among the most notable 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 commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide direct patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Talladega AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Talladega 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Talladega AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Talladega AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN School
Enrolling in the right nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Talladega Alabama.