How to Pick a Nursing Program near Florence Alabama
Choosing the best nursing program near Florence AL may seem like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing college. There are many essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Florence AL medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally 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.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Florence AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some 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 performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Florence AL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities 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 active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Florence AL area and throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose 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 first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Florence AL, which are oftentimes not available 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain 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 delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Florence AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Florence AL?
Florence is the largest and principal city of the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered northwestern Alabama's primary economic hub.
Annual tourism events include the W. C. Handy Music Festival in the summer and the Renaissance Faire in the fall. Landmarks in Florence include the Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in Alabama.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florence has a total area of 25.0 square miles (65 km2), of which 24.9 square miles (64 km2) is land, and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.40%) is water. Florence is located on Wilson Lake and Pickwick Lake, bodies of water on the Tennessee River dammed by Pickwick Dam and Wilson Dams. Pickwick Lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of several alphabet agencies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Wilson Dam (currently operated by the TVA) was authorized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 and was the first dam constructed on the Tennessee River.
Pick the Right RN Course near Florence AL
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing college is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. 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 ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Florence AL.
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