How to Choose a Nursing School in Chambersburg Pennsylvania
Choosing the best nursing school near Chambersburg PA may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various key additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Chambersburg PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Chambersburg PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Chambersburg PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher 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 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 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Chambersburg PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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 change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Chambersburg PA. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Chambersburg PA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Chambersburg PA home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of 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 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Chambersburg PA along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Chambersburg PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Chambersburg PA area school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Chambersburg 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 colleges 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Chambersburg PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Chambersburg PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Chambersburg PA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick 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 RN in Chambersburg PA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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