How to Enroll In the Right RN Course near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Choosing the right nursing program near Vestavia Hills AL may feel like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to investigate before you make a decision 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 system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
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RN Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare 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 primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And in order 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 brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Vestavia Hills AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor's. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Vestavia Hills AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask RN Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Vestavia Hills AL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Vestavia Hills AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different 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. Many states require a specified 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 provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Vestavia Hills Nursing School
Deciding on the right nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Vestavia Hills Alabama.