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How to Choose the Best Nursing School near Tuscumbia Alabama

Tuscumbia Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing school near Tuscumbia AL may seem like a complicated project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination 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 home is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered along with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Tuscumbia Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Tuscumbia AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees Available

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Tuscumbia AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 want 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Degrees

Tuscumbia Alabama Nurse holding medical chartAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some Tuscumbia AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an important component of a Tuscumbia 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 go into the profession for several reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, 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, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse reading with Tuscumbia Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Tuscumbia AL or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Tuscumbia AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Tuscumbia 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Tuscumbia AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Tuscumbia AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Schools in Tuscumbia

Choose the Best Alabama RN College

Selecting the right nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Tuscumbia Alabama.


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