Careers in Nursing
According to the Alabama Board of Nursing, the Top 5 Nursing Programs in the state (based on NCLEX exam performance) are within the Alabama Community College System.
Davey Long knew from the start he wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. He explained, “It may sound cheesy, but I grew up watching Batman and Superman cartoons, and always wanted to help people because of the characters I looked up to as a child.”
He turned those dreams into a reality after graduating from Bevill State Community College’s nursing program and becoming a trauma nurse at UAB Hospital. Most people think the only way to become a nurse is by graduating from a program at a four-year university—Davey is proof that isn’t the case.
He emphasized the more personal, one-on-one environment he found at Bevill State, and added,“I liked the smaller environment because you got to know not only your instructors, but also all of your classmates. I enjoyed that some of my instructors were actually clinical instructors. They were able to add another dynamic to the learning process.”
According to the Alabama Board of Nursing, the Top 5 Nursing Programs in the state (based on NCLEX exam performance) are within the Alabama Community College System:
1. Lawson State Community College
2. Coastal Alabama Community College
3. Snead State Community College
4. Calhoun Community College
5. Wallace State Community College
A typical RN program at a community college spans five semesters, and the LPN program lasts for three. The curriculum incorporates general education courses along with nursing courses, and includes classroom instruction with guided clinical experiences. LPN graduates are prepared to fulfill positions as staff nurses, and may be employed in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, or physicians’ offices. Graduates also have the opportunity to become Registered Nurses after successful passage of the NCLEX-RN exam.
Admission to nursing programs is a highly competitive process. Available space at clinical sites and student-teacher ratios required by the Alabama Board of Nursing limit the number of applicants accepted each year. It is projected that in the next five years, the state of Alabama will need more than 9,000 nurses (RN and LPN) to meet the state’s healthcare needs.
Davey believes someone interested in becoming a nurse “must be kind, caring, and compassionate.” He added, “In my year of being a nurse, I’ve learned that not all love is soft and mushy— sometimes it’s stern. Giving tough love to patients is sometimes the best thing a nurse can do.” He finished with this statement: “Do not be intimidated when meeting Bachelor of Nursing students or colleagues who have their bachelor’s degree. Our skill in nursing is not based solely on a degree. It’s based on what we have learned through experiences in the field we chose.”