How to Choose a Nursing College in Plant City Florida
Searching for the right nursing school near Plant City FL may feel like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Plant City FL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Plant City FL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Plant City FL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Florida community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Florida colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Plant City FL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Florida board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Plant City FL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Florida approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike 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 Plant City FL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Florida to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Florida. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Plant City FL home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Florida and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Plant City FL and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Plant City FL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Plant City FL area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Florida or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Florida school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Plant City FL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Plant City FL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Plant City FL 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. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near Plant City FL
Selecting the right registered nursing school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Plant City FL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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