How to Select the Best RN Degree Program near Auburn Alabama
Selecting the best nursing college near Auburn AL may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Auburn AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 is more than one degree option offered 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 receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Auburn AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving 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 earned one of the above degrees, she or he 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 check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Auburn AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask RN Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Auburn AL 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. Many 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 enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Auburn 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 considering 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 superb reputation within the Auburn AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right Auburn Nursing College
Deciding on the right nursing school is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Auburn Alabama.