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Nursing School Degree Programs Gadsden Alabama

How to Pick the Right Nursing Training Program near Gadsden AL

Gadsden AL Nurse with Physician and PatientLocating the best nursing college near Gadsden AL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper 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 final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Gadsden AL Nurse taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Gadsden AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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 Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Gadsden Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth 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 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional 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

Gadsden Alabama student attending RN school onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Gadsden AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Gadsden AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending 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 practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out 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 assessments 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Gadsden AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Gadsden AL Nursing School

Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you select a nursing college 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 produce a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gadsden AL.