How to Select an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Dothan AL
Selecting the best nursing college near Dothan AL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare 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 primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 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 usually a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 may want 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 two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Dothan AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an important part of a Dothan AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Dothan AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors 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 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 an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Dothan AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Dothan AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Dothan AL Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is potentially the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. 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 excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Dothan AL.