How to Pick the Best Nursing Training Program Online in Prattville Alabama
Choosing the right nursing school near Prattville AL may feel like a complicated 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 appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Prattville AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often 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.
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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Prattville AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after achieving 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 obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) 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.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending 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 remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some Prattville AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Prattville AL or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. 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 reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Prattville 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific 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 outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 good reputation within the Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain 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 Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Best Prattville Nursing College
Picking the ideal nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Prattville Alabama.