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Nursing School Degree Programs Gadsden Alabama

How to Find the Right Nursing Training Program near Gadsden AL

Gadsden AL RN with Physician and PatientFinding the best nursing program near Gadsden AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Gadsden AL RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Gadsden AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Gadsden Alabama Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries 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 offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 might wish 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 obtaining 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 received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Gadsden AL student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Gadsden AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Nursing?

Nurses are an indispensable part of a Gadsden AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly go into the profession due to a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances 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 aspects, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While many nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

questions to ask Gadsden AL nursing degree schoolsNow that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Gadsden AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many 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 assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Right Gadsden AL RN Program

Gadsden AL nurse holding babyEnrolling in the right nursing school is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gadsden AL.