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Nursing School Degree Programs Alabaster Alabama

How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing Course near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL RN with Physician and PatientFinding the right nursing program near Alabaster AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, 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 research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Alabaster AL RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Alabaster Alabama Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Alabaster Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve 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 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 typically a 2 year program after obtaining 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 earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Alabaster Alabama student attending RN school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Alabaster AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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 work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. Some states require a specified 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 delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Alabaster 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Alabaster AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Alabaster AL Nursing Program

Deciding on the right nursing college is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list 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 Alabaster AL.