How to Pick the Best RN School near Prattville AL
Choosing the right nursing program near Prattville AL may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the functions of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Prattville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
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 earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Prattville Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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 don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Prattville AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Prattville AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Prattville AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Prattville AL Nursing Program
Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing program. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Prattville AL.