How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Degree Program Online in Phenix City Alabama
Choosing the right nursing school near Phenix City AL may feel like a difficult endeavor, 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 need to receive the proper education and training in order 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 selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check out before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
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RN Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Phenix City AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Phenix City AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available 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 utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may wish 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Phenix City AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. 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 compares to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining 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 differ 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. Certain states require a specified 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares 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 all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, 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 judgments 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 complete 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phenix City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Phenix City Nursing Program
Enrolling in the ideal nursing college is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Phenix City Alabama.