How to Select the Right Nursing Program near Auburn AL
Finding the best nursing college near Auburn 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 already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research 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 determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Auburn AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Auburn Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ 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 expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Auburn AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an important component of a Auburn AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet 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. In addition, contact 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 assessments 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Auburn AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Auburn AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Auburn AL RN School
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Auburn AL.