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How to Select an Accredited RN Program near Valley Alabama

Valley Alabama Nurse examining man with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing school near Valley AL may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Valley Alabama nurse reading blodd pressure of senior woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Valley AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Valley AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Valley Alabama Nurse holding health chartAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some Valley AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Valley AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most significant are its personal and practical advantages. 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 go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

RN interacting with Valley Alabama assisted living patientNow that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Valley AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Valley AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Valley 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 colleges 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Valley AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Valley AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Find Out More About Online Nursing Colleges in Valley

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN College

Selecting the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Valley Alabama.


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