How to Choose a Nursing School near Auburn Alabama
Searching for the right nursing school near Auburn AL may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Auburn AL medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering 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 high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available 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 continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Auburn AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 desire 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he 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 make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Auburn AL students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Auburn AL area and throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Auburn AL, which are often not provided 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, 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 readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Auburn 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 colleges 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Auburn AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best 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 requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Auburn AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Auburn AL?
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a historic college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Choose the Right RN School near Auburn AL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Auburn AL.
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