How to Find the Best Nursing Program near Mobile AL
Choosing the best nursing school near Mobile AL may feel like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Mobile AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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
There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief 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 preps 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 attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 may desire to advance 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some Mobile AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training 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 Mobile AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many 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 personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to tend 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, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from a number of work environments, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a variety of specializations, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Mobile AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within 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 most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 assessments 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Mobile AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Mobile AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Mobile AL RN School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing program is potentially the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing program. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Mobile AL.