How to Pick a Nursing Program near Fairfield Alabama
Choosing the best nursing college near Fairfield AL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regretably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different Fairfield AL medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Fairfield AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 might wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some Fairfield AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Fairfield AL area and throughout 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 workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans in Fairfield AL, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairfield 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 schools you are considering 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Fairfield AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Fairfield AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Fairfield AL?
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Fairfield AL
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Fairfield AL.
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