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How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near Mobile Alabama

Mobile Alabama neonatal nurse with newbornSearching for the best nursing program near Mobile AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.

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RN Job Responsibilities

Mobile Alabama Nurse with elderly woman resident

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Mobile AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating 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 often 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 Offered

There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Mobile AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as 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) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has earned 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Courses

Mobile Alabama Registered Nurse setting up IV drip prior to surgical procedureAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part 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 rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Mobile AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask RN Schools

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Mobile AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Mobile 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Mobile 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the Mobile AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

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Enroll in the Right Mobile Nursing School

Enrolling in the ideal nursing school is potentially the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Mobile Alabama.



 

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