How to Choose the Best Nursing Course near Troy Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Troy AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely Troy AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing School Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve 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 Troy AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered 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 later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many Troy AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an essential part of a Troy AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Troy AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first 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 compares to the other schools.
- 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 confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Troy AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Troy 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Troy AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Troy AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabama RN Program
Choosing the right nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Troy Alabama.