How to Find the Right Nursing School near Fairhope Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Fairhope AL may seem like a formidable project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing school. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Fairhope AL medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Fairhope AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available 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) supplies 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 past 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 offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Fairhope AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Fairhope AL area and throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Fairhope AL, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online 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. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Fairhope 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 colleges 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairhope AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Fairhope AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Fairhope AL?
Fairhope is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on a sloping plateau, along the cliffs and shoreline of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 15,326. Fairhope is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County. In 2016, Fairhope was named the best small town in the South by Southern Living magazine.
Fairhope was founded in November 1894 on the site of the former Alabama City as a radical Georgist "Single-Tax" colony by the Fairhope Industrial Association, a group of 28 followers of economist Henry George who had incorporated earlier that year in Des Moines, Iowa. Their corporate constitution explained their purpose in founding a new colony:
In forming their demonstration project, they pooled their funds to purchase land at "Stapleton's pasture" on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay and then divided it into a number of long-term leaseholds. The corporation paid all governmental taxes from rents paid by the lessees, thus simulating a single-tax. The purpose of the single-tax colony was to eliminate disincentives for productive use of land and thereby retain the value of land for the community.
Pick the Right RN College near Fairhope AL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Fairhope AL.
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