Home >> Alabama >> Alabaster >> Nursing Programs


Nursing School Degree Programs Alabaster Alabama

How to Choose the Right Nursing Course near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the best nursing school near Alabaster AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Alabaster AL RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Alabaster AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a nurse. And 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 two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Alabaster Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama 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 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 typically a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Classes

Alabaster AL student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some Alabaster AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Alabaster AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a desire to administer 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 medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses provide direct patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

what to ask Alabaster AL nursing training schoolsOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Alabaster 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 colleges you are looking at 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 displeased 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 superb reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually 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 Alabaster AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Best Alabaster AL RN Program

Alabaster AL pediatric nurse holding babyPicking the right nursing school is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alabaster AL.