How to Find the Right Nursing College in Castle Rock Colorado
Finding the right nursing college near Castle Rock CO may feel like a challenging project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Castle Rock CO medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Castle Rock CO, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Castle Rock CO. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Colorado community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Colorado colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Castle Rock CO or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Colorado board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Castle Rock CO. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying 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 Colorado approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Castle Rock CO area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Colorado to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Colorado. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Castle Rock CO home, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Colorado and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Castle Rock CO along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Castle Rock CO.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Castle Rock CO area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Colorado school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Castle Rock CO healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Castle Rock CO healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Castle Rock CO area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Castle Rock CO
Picking the right registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Castle Rock CO.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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