How to Find the Right Nursing College in Monessen Pennsylvania
Searching for the best nursing program near Monessen PA may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Monessen PA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Monessen PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Monessen 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 advance 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 generally a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Monessen PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Monessen PA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide 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 attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Monessen PA area. The length of the training program 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 required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain 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 sure that the training course is state approved. 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 Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Monessen PA home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Monessen PA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Monessen PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 important that the Monessen PA area school you are enrolled in 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. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 local Monessen PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Monessen PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Monessen PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Monessen PA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Monessen PA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready some approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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