How to Pick the Best RN Degree Program near Princeton AL
Searching for the best nursing school near Princeton AL may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree choices that are available 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 numerous different medical settings, namely Princeton AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend 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
- Coordinating care
- Supervising 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 generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Princeton Alabama area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies 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 ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually 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 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 generally a 2 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.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some Princeton AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Why Become a Nurse?Nurses are an integral component of a Princeton AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses frequently go into the profession out of a passion to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related facets, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from an assortment of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a variety of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Princeton AL or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost 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 sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional 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 companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out 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 assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 good reputation within the Princeton AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Princeton AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Princeton AL Nursing Program
Choosing the ideal nursing college is probably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Princeton AL.