How to Find the Best RN Program Online in Phenix City Alabama
Locating the best nursing college near Phenix City AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you make a decision 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 health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Phenix City AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Offered
There is more than one degree option 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six 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 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Phenix City AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask RN Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Phenix City AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Phenix City Nursing School
Selecting the right nursing college is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Phenix City Alabama.