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How to Choose the Best RN Course Online in Princeton Alabama

Princeton Alabama neonatal RN with babyLocating the right nursing school near Princeton AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.

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Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Princeton Alabama Nurse with senior woman resident

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Princeton AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Princeton AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ 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 expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Schools

Princeton Alabama RN setting up IV drip prior to surgical procedureAttending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many Princeton AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask RN Schools

Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Princeton AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Princeton AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Princeton 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Princeton AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Princeton AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

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Enroll in the Best Princeton Nursing Program

Deciding on the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Princeton Alabama.



 

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