How to Choose a Nursing Program in Mansfield Pennsylvania
Choosing the right nursing program near Mansfield PA may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Mansfield PA healthcare 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 general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular 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
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Mansfield PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Mansfield PA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn 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 generally a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive 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 past 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 commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Mansfield PA or concentrate 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 change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Mansfield PA. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, normally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from 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 pursue, it needs to be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Mansfield PA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Mansfield PA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Mansfield PA along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
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. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Mansfield 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Mansfield PA area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Mansfield 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 programs you are looking at 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Mansfield PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Mansfield PA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Mansfield PA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose 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 practicing nurse in Mansfield PA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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