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How to Choose the Best RN College near Wetumpka Alabama

Wetumpka Alabama RN checking man with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Wetumpka AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Wetumpka 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 settings, including Wetumpka AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend 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
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degree Options

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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Wetumpka AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 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 2 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.

Once a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Programs

Wetumpka Alabama Nurse holding medical fileEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many Wetumpka AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Wetumpka AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

Nurse reading with Wetumpka Alabama assisted living patientOnce you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Wetumpka AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Wetumpka 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit 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 also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Wetumpka 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Wetumpka AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Wetumpka AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Enrolling in Nursing Degree Programs in Wetumpka

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN School

Choosing the right nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, 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 select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Wetumpka Alabama.


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