How to Enroll In a Nursing College in Colo Iowa
Locating the best nursing college near Colo IA may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional things to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Colo IA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing 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 higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Colo IA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Colo IA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Iowa community colleges. It prepares 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 obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Iowa colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Colo IA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she 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 make sure to get in touch with the Iowa board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Colo IA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Colo IA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Iowa to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree in Iowa. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Colo IA home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Iowa and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Colo IA along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
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. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Colo IA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Colo IA area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Colo IA 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 colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete 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 superb reputation within the Colo IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Colo IA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Colo IA
Selecting the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Colo IA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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