How to Pick a Nursing College in Derry Pennsylvania
Choosing the best nursing school near Derry PA may feel like a complicated project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Derry PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function 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 as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Derry PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Derry PA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Derry PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Derry PA. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively 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 received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Derry PA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Derry PA home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Derry PA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Derry 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Derry PA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Derry 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Derry PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Derry PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Derry PA
Selecting the right registered nursing college is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Derry PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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