How to Choose the Right Nursing Program Online in East Florence Alabama
Searching for the best nursing program near East Florence AL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including East Florence 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 particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally 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 Degrees Offered
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the East Florence AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two 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.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some East Florence AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments 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 busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near East Florence AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in East Florence AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some East Florence 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the East Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with East Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best East Florence Nursing School
Enrolling in the right nursing college is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 nurse in East Florence Alabama.