How to Choose the Best Nursing School near Phenix City Alabama
Searching for the right nursing college near Phenix City AL may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Phenix City AL hospitals, private 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 be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 basic 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 just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Phenix City AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position 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 more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand 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 call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many Phenix City AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or online, 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 within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Phenix City 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Phenix City 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Phenix City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right Phenix City Nursing Degree Program
Enrolling in the right nursing college is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you pick 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Phenix City Alabama.