Hi- former Galen instructor here. If you want a really good hospital to sign an agreement with, I highly recommend Norton downtown. You can do a nurse externship with them during your RN year as well. The reason I recommend them is that I used to work there, and I know they have the best ratios in town. You may also want to consider Kosair if you want to do peds. Baptist East is also good, from what I hear, and they have a very low turnover rate, so it must be true. U of L Hospital also has a scholarship program as well, if you want to work in trauma. I would suggest checking out the hospitals while you're in clinicals, and see which one you think would be the best fit for you. Believe me, you'll find out real quick where it is you don't
want to work.
You do not have to be a current employee to sign up for scholarships, etc. but they will want you to sign a contract to work for them after you graduate. Lots of students work at the hospitals as nurse aides after their first semester is complete, and that will provide you with hospital experience, plus you'll get a flexible schedule that works around your school responsibilities.
As for uniforms- you're only required to get 1 pair of whites (including lab coat), but I suggest getting more, because you will have to wear your whites not only during clinicals, but in the lab as well. I also heard a rumor that they are considering making the students wear them in class, too. They've had problems with people not conforming with the dress code. If I remember correctly from what students said, the uniforms are not cheap.