How to Choose the Best RN School near Alabaster AL
Selecting the best nursing program near Alabaster AL may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short 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 commonly a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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 fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Alabaster AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Alabaster 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 go into the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the analytical or research related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out 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 judgments 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 dissatisfied 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 Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Alabaster AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabaster AL Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alabaster AL.