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Nursing School Degree Programs East Florence Alabama

How to Pick the Right RN College near East Florence AL

East Florence AL Registered Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the best nursing college near East Florence AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

East Florence AL Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including East Florence AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support 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 along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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

East Florence Alabama Nurse assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the East Florence Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

East Florence AL woman attending RN classes onlineAttending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many East Florence AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue 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 important component of a East Florence AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently go into the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is attractive to many who elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

what to ask East Florence AL nursing training schoolsNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near East Florence 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some East Florence 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the East Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with East Florence AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best East Florence AL Nursing School

East Florence AL RN holding newbornEnrolling in the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in East Florence AL.