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Nursing School Degree Programs Hoover Alabama

How to Pick the Right RN Program near Hoover AL

Hoover AL RN with Physician and PatientChoosing the best nursing school near Hoover AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Hoover AL Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Hoover AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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

Hoover 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 continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Hoover 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 position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has attained 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Hoover AL woman attending RN school onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Hoover AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important part of a Hoover AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful 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 frequently choose the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related facets, is appealing to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Hoover AL nursing degree collegesNow that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hoover AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines 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 essential to lower the number of schools to select from so 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 most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit 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. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hoover 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 programs 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Hoover 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. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Hoover AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Hoover AL Nursing School

Hoover AL RN holding babyChoosing the right nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hoover AL.