How to Choose the Best RN Degree Program Online in Phenix City Alabama
Finding the best nursing school near Phenix City AL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Phenix City AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid 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:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered 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 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available 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 prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 job market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount 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 free time to attend school for some Phenix City AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask RN Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Phenix City AL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality 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 requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 judgments 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 complete 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 superb reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. 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 too. Find out if the schools have associations with Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Phenix City Nursing Program
Choosing the right nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Phenix City Alabama.