How to Select the Right RN College Online in Auburn Alabama
Searching for the best nursing college near Auburn AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Auburn AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Auburn AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly 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 earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Auburn AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Auburn AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out 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 opinions 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Auburn Nursing Degree Program
Selecting the ideal nursing school is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Auburn Alabama.