How to Enroll In an Accredited RN Training Program near Phenix City AL
Selecting the right nursing school near Phenix City AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Phenix City AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help 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. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 just two years, or advance to achieve 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 offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four 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 might 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Phenix City AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental 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 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, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Phenix City AL RN Program
Picking the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you must consider when picking a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you pick 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 develop a shortlist of schools to select 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.