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How to Choose the Right RN Program near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeFinding the right nursing school near Troy AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Troy Alabama RN reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Troy AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help 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 as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degree Options

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 acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Troy AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 normally a two year program after achieving 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 attained 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Classes

Troy Alabama Nurse holding health fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Troy AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Troy AL medical team, and for a large number of 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 enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse interacting with Troy Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Troy AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Troy 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 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find 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 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 finish 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Troy AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Troy AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Schools in Troy

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN College

Deciding on the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Troy Alabama.


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