How to Enroll In the Right RN Training Program Online in Madison Alabama
Locating the right nursing program near Madison AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Alabama!
RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including Madison AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine 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 as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Madison AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many Madison AL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask RN Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Madison AL or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Madison AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a specified 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 provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Madison 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Madison AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with Madison AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Madison Nursing Program
Deciding on the right nursing college is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Madison Alabama.