How to Find the Right RN Degree Program near Hoover Alabama
Searching for the best nursing program near Hoover AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently 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 research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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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, such as Hoover AL hospitals, private 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 be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options to choose from 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Hoover AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 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 normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Hoover AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Hoover AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Hoover AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Hoover AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Hoover Nursing School
Choosing the ideal nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Hoover Alabama.