How to Choose the Right RN Course Online in Madison Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Madison AL may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
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RN Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Madison AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available 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 continue on 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 normally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. 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 requirements.
Nursing Online Colleges
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some 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 conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Madison AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask RN Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Madison AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. 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 reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Madison AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Madison 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Madison AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Madison AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Madison Nursing College
Picking the ideal nursing program is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick 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 licensed RN in Madison Alabama.