How to Choose the Best Nursing School near East Florence Alabama
Searching for the best nursing school near East Florence AL may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss 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 most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including East Florence AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing 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 higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And 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 continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the East Florence AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps 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 obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive 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 past 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary 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 becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many East Florence AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near East Florence AL or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely 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 decision, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in East Florence 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific 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 readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out 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 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the East Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with East Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right East Florence Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing school is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in East Florence Alabama.