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Nursing School Degree Programs Hoover Alabama

How to Select the Right Nursing Training Program near Hoover AL

Hoover AL Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing program near Hoover AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order 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 assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Hoover AL Nurse taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the largest 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 general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing 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 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 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 multiple degrees 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 continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Hoover Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Hoover Alabama woman attending RN classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for 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 method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Hoover AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Hoover AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, 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 field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hoover AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates 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 Program

Selecting the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hoover AL.