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Nursing School Degree Programs Florence Alabama

How to Find the Best RN Degree Program near Florence AL

Florence AL Nurse with Physician and PatientSearching for the right nursing school near Florence AL may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree options that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Florence AL Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

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

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees

Florence Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Florence Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a more advanced 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 allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Classes

Florence AL student attending nursing classes onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Florence AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an essential component of a Florence AL medical team, and for a number of patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for many reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses often choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in cases of short-term treatment of illness and long-term care of chronic conditions. This human aspect of the health profession, as opposed to the research or analytical related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can choose from an assortment of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While many nurses deliver personal patient care, others elect to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Colleges

questions to ask Florence AL nursing degree programsNow that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Florence AL or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 judgments 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Florence AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Florence AL RN School

Florence AL pediatric nurse holding newbornSelecting the ideal nursing program is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Florence AL.