How to Pick the Right Nursing Degree Program near Gadsden AL
Locating the best nursing program near Gadsden AL may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Gadsden AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the treatment 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 portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option 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 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 offered to aspiring students in the Gadsden Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Gadsden AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 household obligations have left you with 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 Choose the Nursing Profession?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Gadsden AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged 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 elect to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide direct patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Gadsden AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 ensure that you get an excellent 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 differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check 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 as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Gadsden 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Gadsden AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Gadsden AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Gadsden AL Nursing School
Deciding on the right nursing college is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical 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 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 Gadsden AL.