How to Select the Right Nursing College near Phenix City AL
Searching for the right nursing program near Phenix City AL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Phenix City AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing 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), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Phenix City Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including 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 extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 commonly a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers 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. Additional 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 mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some Phenix City AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 performed, 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 comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Phenix City 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Phenix City AL Nursing School
Picking the ideal nursing school is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Phenix City AL.