How to Choose a Nursing School in Chapel Hill North Carolina
Searching for the right nursing program near Chapel Hill NC may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Chapel Hill NC medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Chapel Hill NC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Chapel Hill NC. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain 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 usually a two year program made available by North Carolina community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at North Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Chapel Hill NC or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the North Carolina board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Chapel Hill NC. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be North Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Chapel Hill NC area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for North Carolina to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in North Carolina. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Chapel Hill NC home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout North Carolina and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Chapel Hill NC along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, 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. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Chapel Hill NC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Chapel Hill NC area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for North Carolina or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the North Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Chapel Hill NC 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Chapel Hill NC medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Chapel Hill NC area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Chapel Hill NC
Selecting the right registered nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Chapel Hill NC.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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