May 20, 2009


There’s Never Been a Better Time To Be a Nurse – Prepare at Northeast Alabama Community College

Health care is one of the best fields to get a job. The career outlook for nurses is excellent. With the world population living longer and requiring more care, national estimates indicate that by the year 2020 there could be a shortage of 800,000 nurses.

And nursing is a highly regarded profession. There’s never been a better time to become a nurse. Northeast Alabama Community College can prepare you for an exiting career in the profession of nursing.

Dr. Cindy Jones, Director of Nursing Education at Northeast stated that the primary goal of the nursing faculty is to prepare the RN (registered nursing) and PN (practical nursing) graduates for the workplace. “Living in a rural area, we or a member of our family will be on the receiving end of health care at some point,” she said. “We want to feel confident that our graduates will be able to safely provide care to us. According to nurse recruiters from neighboring states, they have stated that they had rather employ a nursing graduate from Northeast than their own state because of their preparedness for the workplace. Graduates often return to Northeast to express their appreciation for the education they received at Northeast.”

Health Education BuildingRecognizing the need for health care training, Dr. David Campbell, NACC President, several years back set as a goal the construction of a new state-of-the-art health education building on campus. The result was the Health Education Building that opened on the Northeast campus in the fall of 2007.

“It was and is clear that in the future there is going to be more and more a need for health care workers, particularly in the nursing field,” Campbell stated. “So we focused our planning on a building and training facilities that could help prepare the absolute best nurses and health care workers for our area.” Campbell noted that the building was financed through a bond issue financed by the college. “In a sense, our entire faculty, staff, students, and community have helped us build this state-of-the-art facility and we are fortunate that we have the finances to provide this building for our health care programs.” Campbell added that in the past several years the college also has made it a goal to acquire the latest educational technology for staff and students. The availability of this educational technology is a unique feature of all programs at Northeast, particularly those housed in the Health Education Building.

Campbell noted that he wanted the building to be a center for health education in the area. Consequently, the college sponsors a Health Lecture Series for NACC faculty, staff, students, and the community. The lecture series, coordinated by Ms. Susan Barron, has proven to be a popular addition to Northeast and has provided beneficial information on health topics.

The nursing program moved into the new Health Education Building in the fall of 2007. During open house in October 2007, a reception was held for Chancellor Bradley Byrne. “He commented that the Health Education (and Workforce Development) building was the best that he had seen in the state, and that he would be sending representatives from other colleges facing construction projects to visit our facility,” said Jones.

Students have an optimal learning environment in this building, with a theatre style classroom, a 12-bed hospital laboratory, and a 30-station computer lab. The HE building has a large student lounge equipped with a computer café and two study rooms for group study sessions.

Jane Hopson, Practical Nursing Program Coordinator, added, “With the new hospital lab we can broaden student learning before they are assigned actual patients in the hospital setting. We are very excited by the recent purchases of adult and child patient simulators. These technologically advanced mannequins have the capacity to simulate actual patient symptoms for the student to experience, and learn appropriate reactions in the lab setting. The mannequins give the faculty the opportunity to expose students to situations that do not spontaneously arise in the clinical environment.”

“As a doctoral student I have spoken at length with other nurse educators from across the state,” said Myrna Williamson, nursing instructor from Crossville (enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Alabama). “The technological resources available at NACC for student use are above and beyond what is offered at many other community colleges and universities. Technology that is incorporated into the nursing classes are: clickers used for review and assessment of understanding in the classroom, WIMBA used to record and enhance lectures, and BlackBoard used to post assignments and PowerPoint lectures, and for remediation assignments, discussion boards, communications and announcements. NACC students have the advantage of available cutting edge technology which can enhance their learning experience while at NACC and will serve to place them ahead of the curve as they enter the workforce or transfer to a university.”

Donna Watson, Level II Coordinator, RN Program, added that the HE Building provides an environment conducive to learning. “Computer labs offer students the opportunity to review and research content presented in class as well as the opportunity to practice NCLEX style test questions in preparation for classroom exams. The student lounge with the two separate study rooms allow students to gather or to work independently between classes,” she stated.

Janet Gardner, Level I Coordinator, RN Program, agrees that the nursing students have benefited greatly from the new facility. “The students, at their convenience, have been able to practice various skills in our large hospital lab. These opportunities have provided them with the confidence they need to give good nursing care.”

Class President/Curriculum Representative of the RN Class of 2009 Winnie Manning stated, "We view power points for our lectures, watch educational videos, and engage in interactive learning through the CPS clicker system in the large theater-style classroom. I especially enjoy using the clickers in class, because it helps me gauge where I am in my personal studies. We also spend many hours in our computer lab watching videos and taking practice tests that help us prepare for ‘the big one’. Our hospital lab is complete with the latest high-tech beds, IV pumps, and mannequins where we are able to practice all of our skills before we get to the hospitals.”

During the students’ last semester, they complete a 90-hour preceptorship where they work side-by-side with another nurse to aide them in the transition to the workplace. “At the end of my preceptorship, I felt especially proud when some nurses told me that the group of students from Northeast Alabama Community College were some of the best prepared students they had seen in a long time,” continued Manning. “I contribute this compliment to our facilities as well as to the dedication and determination of our nursing instructors to produce well-prepared, professional nursing graduates.”

Brandi Griggs, Second Level RN student, feels truly blessed to be part of the Northeast nursing program. “I have greatly benefited from the hospital lab with interactive mannequins that allow us to use our assessment skills we have learned in the classroom. I also had the opportunity to work in our hospital lab with first level students as a work/study. This allowed me to assist them with their nursing skills and assessments which also helped me as well. Another awesome educational experience has been the 90 hours that we are required to precept at area hospitals with selected nurses. This has helped me tremendously to begin the transition of nursing student to RN. We also have wonderful instructors who are dedicated to our success. I know without the technology of our Health Education building and the knowledge and guidance of the nursing faculty I would not be as prepared for NCLEX or my nursing career. I am proud to be a NACC nursing student!”

Graduates from both RN and PN programs are usually employed by the time they graduate. Employment rates following graduation has ranged from 95-100%. Due to the number of RN and PN graduates at Northeast, hospitals in our service area have not yet experienced a nursing shortage. RN graduates are employable in June and LPN graduates are ready for the workforce in August.

Peter Selman, Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb Regional Medical Center, offered that “the NACC School of Nursing is a vital link in our recruiting qualified nurses to join the staff at DeKalb Regional Medical Center. DRMC has for many years maintained a clinical affiliation agreement with NACC allowing DRMC to participate as a clinical site for student enrolled in the nursing program. The majority of RNs recruited to DRMC are graduates of NACC. We are pleased to have such a high caliber of nursing program in our community.”

A world of possibilities awaits you in the nursing profession. If you are interested in an exciting career in nursing, please phone the college at ext. 216 or go to these pages:

Nursing (Health Sciences Division)                    Admission