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Nursing School Degree Programs Mobile Alabama

How to Pick the Best RN Course near Mobile AL

Mobile AL Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the right nursing program near Mobile AL may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Mobile AL RN taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Mobile AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Keeping health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Mobile Alabama Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option available to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Mobile Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Mobile AL woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many Mobile AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Mobile AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check 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. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Mobile 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Mobile AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Mobile AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Mobile AL RN School

Mobile Alabama RN holding patient chartDeciding on the ideal nursing college is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Mobile AL.