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Nursing School Degree Programs Dothan Alabama

How to Find the Right RN Training Program near Dothan AL

Dothan AL Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing college near Dothan AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school 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. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Dothan AL Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Dothan AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Dothan Alabama Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Dothan Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance 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 acquiring 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 earned 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Dothan AL student attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many Dothan AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper 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 numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Dothan AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care environment have more contact with nurses than with doctors. 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 extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others opt to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Dothan AL nursing degree schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Dothan AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Dothan 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 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Dothan AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Dothan AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Dothan AL RN School

Dothan AL nurse holding babyPicking the right nursing program is potentially the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Dothan AL.