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Nursing School Degree Programs Mobile Alabama

How to Choose the Right Nursing Program near Mobile AL

Mobile AL Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the best nursing college near Mobile AL may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Mobile AL RN taking vital signs of woman

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Mobile AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

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

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

Mobile Alabama Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered 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 just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available 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 readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Classes

Mobile AL student attending RN college onlineEnrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number 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 practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Mobile AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an integral part of a Mobile AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses often choose the profession out of a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This human side of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who elect to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specialties, such as substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

what to ask Mobile AL nursing degree programsOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Mobile AL or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, 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 select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Mobile 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 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 Mobile AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Mobile AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Mobile AL Nursing School

Mobile AL nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Mobile AL.