How to Select the Right Nursing Training Program Online in Dothan Alabama
Finding the best nursing program near Dothan AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Dothan AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 normally 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.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Dothan AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Dothan AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Training Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Dothan AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Dothan AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Dothan 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Dothan AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Dothan Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Dothan Alabama.