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How to Select an Accredited RN Program near Trussville Alabama

Trussville Alabama Nurse checking man with stethoscopeFinding the right nursing program near Trussville AL may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Trussville Alabama nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Trussville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job 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 in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing College Degrees

There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Trussville AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance 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) in order to become licensed. Further 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 mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Trussville Alabama RN holding health fileEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Trussville AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an integral component of a Trussville AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse interacting with Trussville Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Trussville AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Trussville 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some 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 enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Trussville 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Trussville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best 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 prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Trussville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Classes in Trussville

Enroll in the Right Alabama RN Program

Choosing the right nursing program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Trussville Alabama.


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