How to Select the Best RN Training Program Online in Mobile Alabama
Finding the right nursing program near Mobile AL may seem like a complex project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely 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 home is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Mobile AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer 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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Mobile AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered 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 employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many Mobile AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household 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 busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Mobile AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Mobile AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, 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 comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Mobile AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Mobile AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Mobile Nursing School
Deciding on the right nursing program is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, 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 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Mobile Alabama.