How to Select the Right Nursing School Online in Alabaster Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Alabaster AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Offered
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Alabaster AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order 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 Courses
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly 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 answer to finding the time to attend college for many Alabaster AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Alabaster AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as 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 enrolled in 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. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Alabaster 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 programs 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Alabaster AL medical 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. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Alabaster Nursing Degree Program
Selecting the ideal nursing college is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Alabaster Alabama.