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How to Find the Best RN Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama

Vestavia Hills Alabama RN examining patient with stethoscopeSearching for the best nursing college near Vestavia Hills AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Vestavia Hills Alabama RN taking blodd pressure of elderly female patient

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 School Degrees

There are several degree options offered 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Vestavia Hills AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has attained 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 don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Vestavia Hills Alabama Nurse holding health chartEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some Vestavia Hills AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many 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 obligations have left you with little 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 active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Vestavia Hills AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Courses

Nurse reading with Vestavia Hills Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Vestavia Hills AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Vestavia Hills AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies 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 determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Vestavia Hills 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 considering 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Training in Vestavia Hills

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN College

Selecting the ideal nursing school is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Vestavia Hills Alabama.


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