How to Choose the Best Nursing Program Online in Auburn Alabama
Locating the right nursing college near Auburn AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
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RN Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Auburn AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
Nursing Degrees Offered
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Auburn AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize 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 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 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Further 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 Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Auburn AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask RN Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Auburn AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also preps 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 reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Auburn 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Auburn AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Auburn Nursing School
Picking the right nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Auburn Alabama.