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Nursing School Degree Programs Florence Alabama

How to Enroll In an Accredited Nursing Training Program near Florence AL

Florence AL Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSelecting the right nursing college near Florence AL may feel like a challenging undertaking, 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 need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first go over the nursing degree alternatives that are available together with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Florence AL Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including Florence AL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Managing 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 instance, 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 common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Florence Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are several degree options 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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations 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 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 use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama 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 may 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 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has attained 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 vary from state to state, so don't forget to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Programs

Florence AL student attending nursing classes onlineEnrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many Florence AL students. Concerning tuition, many 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 economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Why Enter the Nursing Profession?

Nurses are an integral 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 a number of opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses enter the profession for many reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal advantages. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Many individuals in a medical facility 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 situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This human aspect of the healthcare profession, rather than the research or analytical related elements, is appealing to many who decide to enter into a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can select from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specializations, such as addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. Although many nurses provide personal patient care, others choose to be teachers, policy advisers or pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

what to ask Florence AL nursing degree collegesOnce you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Florence AL or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify 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 obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many 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 positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Florence AL RN Program

Florence AL nurse holding newbornDeciding on the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you choose a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Florence AL.