How to Enroll In the Best RN School near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Auburn AL may feel like a complex 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 need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Auburn AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain 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 commonly a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Auburn AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask RN Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Auburn AL or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price 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 sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Auburn 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Auburn AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Best Auburn Nursing College
Selecting the right nursing program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed 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 using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Auburn Alabama.