How to Find the Right Nursing College in Dover Pennsylvania
Searching for the right nursing program near Dover PA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Dover PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing 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), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Dover PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Dover 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 as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Dover PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Dover PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish 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 guarantees that the syllabus 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Dover PA area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial 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 recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the training course 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 other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Dover PA home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Dover PA and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Dover 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Dover PA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Dover 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Dover PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Dover PA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near Dover PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select an RN college 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 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 desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Dover PA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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