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Nursing School Degree Programs Montgomery Alabama

How to Pick the Best Nursing Training Program near Montgomery AL

Montgomery AL RN with Doctor and PatientLocating the best nursing program near Montgomery AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available as well as what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Montgomery AL RN taking blood pressure of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Montgomery AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing Degree Options

Montgomery Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And in order 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 two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Montgomery Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Montgomery AL woman attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some Montgomery AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask Nursing Colleges

Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Montgomery AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 certain 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 delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out 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 colleges 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Montgomery AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best Montgomery AL RN School

Montgomery Alabama RN holding medical chartChoosing the right nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Montgomery AL.