How to Pick the Best Nursing Degree Program near Gulf Shores Alabama
Searching for the right nursing program near Gulf Shores AL may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover the nursing degree options that are available along with what the jobs of nurses are in our health system.
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Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Gulf Shores AL area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Why Become a Nurse?
Nurses are an essential part of a Gulf Shores AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to a number of opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for various reasons, among the most meaningful are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is attractive to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a number of work settings, including nursing homes, physician’s offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Gulf Shores AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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 complex 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 provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many Gulf Shores AL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Gulf Shores AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Gulf Shores AL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Gulf Shores AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gulf Shores AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Gulf Shores AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Low Cost Nursing Schools Gulf Shores Alabama
Selecting the ideal nursing school is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing program. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. You originally came to this website due to your interest in Low Cost Nursing Schools and wanting more information on the topic Top Nursing Courses.. However, by utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gulf Shores AL.
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Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores is located on the Gulf of Mexico at 30°16'4.069" North, 87°42'5.285" West (30.267797, −87.701468). It is the southernmost settlement in the state of Alabama. It is served by Alabama State Route 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway), which leads north to Foley. Route 182 (Beach Boulevard) runs east-west along the shore front, while Route 180 (Fort Morgan Road) runs parallel to it, north of Little Lagoon. Gulf State Park occupies a large eastern part of the city.
Gulf Shores is located 33 miles (53 km) west of Pensacola, Florida, 54 miles (87 km) south of Mobile, 197 miles (317 km) east of New Orleans, 194 miles (312 km) south of Montgomery, and 55 miles (89 km) west of Navarre, Florida. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.0 square miles (72.5 km2), of which 23.2 square miles (60.0 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12.5 km2), or 17.24%, is water.
Gulf Shores has a humid subtropical climate, with long, hot summers, and mild and sunny winters. With bright sunny summers and warm winters, Alabama Gulf Coast weather offers year-round opportunities for beach-going, fishing, and golfing. Winters are generally mild and residents can enjoy outside activities the majority of the time. Daily highs in winter are close to 60 °F (16 °C) and nighttime lows are near 40 °F (4 °C). Summers are hot, which makes for great beach weather and the sea breeze provides relief from the heat as well as humidity. Daytime highs in summer are near 90 °F (32 °C) and evening lows near 68 °F (20 °C). While the area enjoys a strong "snowbird" season from December to April, many locals say that May/June and October/November are the best months. Ocean surf temperatures are quite warm from May through November, often well into the low 80s.
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