How to Find the Right Nursing College in Bethel Park Pennsylvania
Locating the best nursing school near Bethel Park PA may feel like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Bethel Park PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Bethel Park PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Bethel Park PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including 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) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Bethel Park PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Bethel Park PA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Bethel Park PA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain 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 recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some 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 center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Bethel Park PA home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Bethel Park PA along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Bethel Park PA.
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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Bethel Park PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Bethel Park PA 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 looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Bethel Park PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Bethel Park PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Bethel Park PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bethel Park PA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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