How to Select the Right Nursing Degree Program near Princeton AL
Finding the best nursing program near Princeton AL may feel like a complicated project, particularly 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 need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional things to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are offered as well as what the jobs of nurses are in our healthcare system.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Princeton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And in order 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 advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Princeton Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress 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 commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount 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 accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Princeton AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Why Choose Nursing as a Career?Nurses are an indispensable part of a Princeton AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most meaningful are its personal and practical advantages. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work settings, including home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, such as substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others elect to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Princeton AL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality 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 vary 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 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 excellent education, but also preps 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 assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Princeton 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Princeton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Princeton AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Princeton AL RN Program
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Princeton AL.