How to Pick a Nursing College in Santa Fe New Mexico
Choosing the right nursing college near Santa Fe NM may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Santa Fe NM medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Santa Fe NM, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Santa Fe NM. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by New Mexico community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at New Mexico colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 generally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Santa Fe NM or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the New Mexico board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Santa Fe NM. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, 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 commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to 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 type of credential you pursue, it needs to be New Mexico approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Santa Fe NM area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimal amount of training required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 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 requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in New Mexico. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Santa Fe NM home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout New Mexico and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Santa Fe NM along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Santa Fe NM.
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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Santa Fe NM area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for New Mexico or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the New Mexico school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Santa Fe 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 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 Santa Fe NM medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Santa Fe NM area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course near Santa Fe NM
Picking the right registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Santa Fe NM.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in New Mexico