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Nursing School Degree Programs Gadsden Alabama

How to Find the Right RN Training Program near Gadsden AL

Gadsden AL Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Gadsden AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Functions

Gadsden AL RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Gadsden AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining 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 generally 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 Degrees Available

Gadsden Alabama Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from 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 two years, or continue on 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 Gadsden 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 medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 might wish to advance 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 normally a 2 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.

When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Programs

Gadsden AL woman attending nursing school onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Gadsden AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Gadsden 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 throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. 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 too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Gadsden AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Gadsden AL Nursing School

Gadsden Alabama RN holding patient chartSelecting the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community.  By utilizing 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gadsden AL.