How to Pick the Right RN Program near Hoover AL
Finding the right nursing school near Hoover AL may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Hoover AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from 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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Hoover Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Hoover AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Why Nursing?Nurses are an integral part of a Hoover AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for various reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic side of the medical profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses deliver primary patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hoover AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, 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 preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hoover 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 schools you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with Hoover AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Hoover AL RN School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hoover AL.