Home >> Alabama >> Muscle Shoals >> Nursing Courses


Request Free Information on Nursing Colleges In Your Area Muscle Shoals AL 35646

How to Enroll In the Right RN Course near Muscle Shoals Alabama

Muscle Shoals Alabama Nurse checking patient with stethoscopeLocating the best nursing college near Muscle Shoals AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren't sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently 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 vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let's first look at the nursing degree alternatives that are available along with what the roles of nurses are in our healthcare system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Muscle Shoals Alabama nurse taking vital signs of senior woman

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Keeping 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing School Degrees

There are multiple degrees available 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 summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Muscle Shoals AL area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies 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 later obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at 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 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring 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 acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Schools

Muscle Shoals Alabama Nurse holding medical fileAttending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Muscle Shoals AL students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Become a Nurse?

Nurses are an integral component of a Muscle Shoals 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 several reasons, among the most significant are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide direct, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a hospital or home care environment spend more time with nurses than with doctors. Nurses frequently choose the profession out of a desire to tend to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and prolonged care of chronic ailments. This humanistic aspect of the medical profession, as opposed to the analytical or research related aspects, is appealing to many who choose to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a variety of work settings, such as nursing homes, physician's offices, medical clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can progress into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, genetics and neonatology. While most nurses provide primary patient care, others choose to be educators, policy consultants and pharmaceutical representatives.

Things to Ask Nursing Programs

Nurse interacting with Muscle Shoals Alabama nursing home patientOnce you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Muscle Shoals AL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points 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 evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.  Also, many Muscle Shoals AL area healthcare employers require that new hires have graduated from an accredited school.
  • 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Muscle Shoals AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn More About Online Nursing Training in Muscle Shoals

Enroll in the Best Alabama RN College

Picking the right nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you pick a nursing college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Muscle Shoals Alabama.


Muscle Shoals Nursing Colleges | Main | Muscle Shoals Nursing Training