How to Choose a Nursing College near Theodore Alabama
Locating the best nursing program near Theodore AL may seem like a complicated 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 obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing school. There are several crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different Theodore AL medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Theodore AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a two year program after acquiring 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 obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some Theodore AL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 family responsibilities 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 active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges in the Theodore AL area and throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans in Theodore AL, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Theodore 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 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Theodore AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Theodore AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Theodore AL?
Theodore is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population was 6,130 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. Prior to 1900 this area was known as Clements, but is now named for William Theodore Hieronymous (a sawmill operator and postmaster).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,811 people, 2,483 households, and 1,926 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 571.6 people per square mile (220.6/km²). There were 2,697 housing units at an average density of 226.3 per square mile (87.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 71.11% White, 25.58% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 1.29% Asian, 0.41% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,483 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.11.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Theodore AL
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Theodore AL.
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