How to Find the Right Nursing School near Alabaster AL
Locating the best nursing college near Alabaster AL may seem like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision 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 home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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 complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And in order 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 as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Alabaster Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies 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 subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Alabaster AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an essential 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 go into the profession for several reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- 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) together 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also readies 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 organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alabaster 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 programs 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 imperative 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 attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabaster AL RN School
Selecting the right nursing program is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alabaster AL.