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Nursing School Degree Programs Madison Alabama

How to Pick an Accredited RN Training Program near Madison AL

Madison AL Nurse with Physician and PatientChoosing the right nursing program near Madison AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree options that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Madison AL Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Madison AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

Madison Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Madison Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth 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 desire 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Madison AL student attending RN college onlineAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Madison AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an important component of a Madison AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related elements, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, including nursing homes, physician's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be educators, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

questions to ask Madison AL nursing degree schoolsOnce you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Madison AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Madison 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 programs 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 superb reputation within the Madison AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Madison AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Madison AL RN Program

Madison AL nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Madison AL.