How to Find an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Montgomery AL
Choosing the right nursing school near Montgomery AL may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree options that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Montgomery AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Montgomery Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 wish to advance 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in 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 part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many Montgomery AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 work and household commitments 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 busy schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an indispensable component of a Montgomery AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, the most notable are its personal and practical rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a medical facility or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly go into the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic conditions. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, rather than the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, including nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although most nurses provide personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Montgomery AL or on the web, you can utilize 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 choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain 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 criteria for registered nurses vary 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. 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each 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 call some Montgomery 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 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 superb reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Montgomery AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Montgomery AL Nursing School
Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when picking a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Montgomery AL.