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Nursing School Degree Programs Florence Alabama

How to Pick an Accredited RN Course near Florence AL

Florence AL Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientChoosing the best nursing college near Florence AL may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don't know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Florence AL RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Florence Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Florence Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Programs

Florence AL woman attending nursing college onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Florence AL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an essential part of a Florence AL medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing can lead to many opportunities, such as healthcare education, research and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with doctors. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in instances of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic ailments. This human side of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, including home care facilities, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Schools

questions to ask Florence AL nursing training collegesOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Florence AL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Florence 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 programs 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Florence AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Florence AL RN School

Florence AL pediatric nurse holding babyDeciding on the right nursing college is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Florence AL.