How to Pick a Nursing College in Kutztown Pennsylvania
Searching for the best nursing school near Kutztown PA may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Kutztown PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Kutztown PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Kutztown PA. And 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 attain 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 2 year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies 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 attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive 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 might wish 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Kutztown PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Kutztown PA. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Kutztown PA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 training 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 other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Kutztown PA home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Kutztown PA and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Kutztown PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Kutztown PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Kutztown 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Kutztown PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Kutztown PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Kutztown PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Kutztown PA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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