How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Carnegie Pennsylvania
Selecting the best nursing program near Carnegie PA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Carnegie PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Carnegie PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Carnegie PA. And in order 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 advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Carnegie PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Carnegie PA. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides 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 kind of credential you seek, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly 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 obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Carnegie PA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 Pennsylvania to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Carnegie PA home, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Carnegie PA along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors 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 see how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Carnegie PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 important that the Carnegie PA area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies 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 Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Carnegie PA 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Carnegie PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Carnegie PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Carnegie PA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Carnegie PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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