How to Choose the Right RN Course Online in Phenix City Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Phenix City AL may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
It Takes Just a Minute to Start Your Nursing Career in Alabama!
RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely Phenix City AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically 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 Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain 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 generally a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Phenix City AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Best Phenix City Nursing Program
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Phenix City Alabama.