Home >> Alabama >> Florence >> Nursing Programs


Nursing School Degree Programs Florence Alabama

How to Choose the Best Nursing Course near Florence AL

Florence AL Nurse with Physician and PatientSelecting the right nursing college near Florence AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren't sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree choices that are available along with what the functions of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Florence AL Nurse taking vital signs of elderly woman

Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

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

Nursing Degree Options

Florence Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees available 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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Florence Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 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 received 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don't forget to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Florence AL student attending RN classes onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some Florence AL students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral component of a Florence AL medical team, and for many patients, their primary care providers. A nursing career opens doors to a number of opportunities, such as research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility or home care setting have more contact with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession due to a desire to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related elements, is appealing to many who choose to enter into a nursing career. Nurses have extensive applicable skills and can select from a number of work environments, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, including substance addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. While most nurses deliver primary patient care, others elect to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

questions to ask Florence AL nursing training programsOnce you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Florence AL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt 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 in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Florence AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Florence AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Florence AL RN Program

Florence AL RN holding babyPicking the right nursing school is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate 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.