How to Pick a Nursing Program in Freeport Pennsylvania
Selecting the best nursing program near Freeport PA may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various key additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job 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 Freeport PA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Freeport PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Freeport PA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four 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 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 normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Freeport 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Freeport PA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing 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 type 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 core curriculum properly 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Freeport PA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Freeport PA home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive 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 numerous 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 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 Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Freeport PA as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary 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 ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Freeport PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Freeport PA area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Freeport 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 programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Freeport PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Freeport 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 also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Freeport PA
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Freeport PA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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