How to Choose the Right RN Course Online in Auburn Alabama
Locating the right nursing college near Auburn AL may feel like a complex project, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional things to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Alabama!
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Auburn AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available 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 prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 commonly a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Auburn AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly 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 many 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 household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Auburn AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Auburn AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. 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 a working relationship with Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Auburn Nursing College
Picking the right nursing program is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted 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 healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Auburn Alabama.