How to Select the Right RN Program near Gadsden AL
Selecting the best nursing school near Gadsden AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Gadsden AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Gadsden Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 prior 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 employment market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Gadsden AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Gadsden AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 needed 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch 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 judgments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 favorable reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Gadsden AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Gadsden AL Nursing Program
Selecting the ideal nursing college is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gadsden AL.