How to Enroll In the Best Nursing College near Tuscumbia Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Tuscumbia AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you 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 evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Tuscumbia AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Tuscumbia AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 progress 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 2 year program after receiving 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 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Tuscumbia AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an important part of a Tuscumbia 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 several reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related facets, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as nursing homes, 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. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Tuscumbia AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tuscumbia AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find 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 schools you are looking at 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Tuscumbia AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Tuscumbia AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabama RN Program
Selecting the right nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 Tuscumbia Alabama.