How to Find the Best Nursing Course near Prattville Alabama
Selecting the right nursing school near Prattville AL may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
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RN Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Prattville AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Offered
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 acquire a qualifying degree in just two 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 Prattville 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 healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many Prattville AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Training Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Prattville AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Prattville AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 colleges you are looking at 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Prattville Nursing Program
Selecting the right nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Prattville Alabama.