How to Choose a Nursing School in Pine Ridge South Dakota
Finding the best nursing school near Pine Ridge SD may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional aspects to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Pine Ridge SD medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Pine Ridge SD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Pine Ridge SD. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by South Dakota community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at South Dakota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Pine Ridge SD or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the South Dakota board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Pine Ridge SD. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be South Dakota approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Pine Ridge SD area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for South Dakota to make certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in South Dakota. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Pine Ridge SD home, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within South Dakota and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Pine Ridge SD as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Pine Ridge SD.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 important that the Pine Ridge SD area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for South Dakota or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the South Dakota school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Pine Ridge SD healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pine Ridge SD healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Pine Ridge SD area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Pine Ridge SD
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Pine Ridge SD.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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