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How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama

Vestavia Hills Alabama neonatal RN with newbornFinding the right nursing college near Vestavia Hills AL may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.

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Registered Nurse Job Activities

Vestavia Hills Alabama Nurse with senior female resident

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

There are several degree options 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Vestavia Hills AL area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 two 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.

After a graduating student has acquired 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 contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Nursing Online Degrees

Vestavia Hills Alabama Nurse setting up IV drip prior to surgical procedureAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific 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 approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Vestavia Hills AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Vestavia Hills AL or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Vestavia Hills AL for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies 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 assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Vestavia Hills AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

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Select the Right Vestavia Hills Nursing Program

Selecting the ideal nursing school is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Vestavia Hills Alabama.



 

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