How to Choose a Nursing Program in Cambridge Minnesota
Choosing the right nursing college near Cambridge MN may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look 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 vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Cambridge MN healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, family 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 along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Cambridge MN, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Cambridge MN. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Minnesota community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Minnesota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Cambridge MN or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Minnesota board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Cambridge MN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, 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 Minnesota 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Cambridge MN area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal 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 satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Minnesota to make sure that the education 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 additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Minnesota. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Cambridge MN home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Minnesota and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Cambridge MN along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Cambridge MN.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Cambridge MN area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Minnesota or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Minnesota school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Cambridge MN 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Cambridge MN healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Cambridge MN area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Cambridge MN
Selecting the right registered nursing program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Cambridge MN.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Minnesota