How to Pick an Accredited RN Training Program near Auburn AL
Choosing the best nursing college near Auburn AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Auburn AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Auburn Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Auburn AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, 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 emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Auburn 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Auburn AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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. Find out if the schools have associations with Auburn AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Auburn AL Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Auburn AL.