How to Select a Nursing Program in Alto New Mexico
Selecting the right nursing school near Alto NM may feel like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Alto NM medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Alto NM, 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 Alto NM. 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 two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by New Mexico community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at New Mexico colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Alto NM or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the New Mexico board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Alto NM. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice 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 complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be New Mexico approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Alto NM area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for New Mexico to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in New Mexico. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Alto NM home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout New Mexico and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Alto NM along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Alto NM.
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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Alto NM area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for New Mexico or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the New Mexico school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Alto NM healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Alto NM medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Alto NM area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Alto NM
Picking the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 nurse in Alto NM.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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