How to Select a Nursing School in Pittsburg Missouri
Searching for the right nursing program near Pittsburg MO may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Pittsburg MO 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 general duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Pittsburg MO, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Pittsburg MO. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Missouri community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Missouri 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 may desire to progress 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 two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Pittsburg MO or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Missouri board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Pittsburg MO. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn 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, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it should be Missouri approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Pittsburg MO area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Missouri to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Missouri. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Pittsburg MO home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Missouri and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Pittsburg MO along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Pittsburg MO.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Pittsburg MO area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Missouri or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Missouri school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Pittsburg MO 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 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 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 superb reputation within the Pittsburg MO healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Pittsburg MO area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Pittsburg MO
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Pittsburg MO.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to 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 talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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