How to Pick the Right RN Training Program near Phenix City Alabama
Choosing the best nursing school near Phenix City AL may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Phenix City AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend 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 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Phenix City AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two 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 ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally 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 might wish 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Phenix City AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Phenix City AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Many 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 a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Phenix City 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 colleges you are looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Phenix City Nursing Program
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Phenix City Alabama.