How to Select a Nursing School in Lake Park Iowa
Selecting the best nursing college near Lake Park IA may seem like a challenging project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Lake Park IA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities 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
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Lake Park IA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Lake Park IA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Iowa community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Iowa 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 normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Lake Park IA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Iowa board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lake Park IA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lake Park IA area. The length of the instruction 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 receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary 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 recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Iowa to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Iowa. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Lake Park IA home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Iowa and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Lake Park IA along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Lake Park IA.
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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Lake Park IA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Lake Park IA 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 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 unhappy 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 Lake Park IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Lake Park IA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course near Lake Park IA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Lake Park IA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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