How to Select a Nursing Program in Paoli Pennsylvania
Finding the best nursing program near Paoli PA may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Paoli PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping 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 often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Paoli PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Paoli 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 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations 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 position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Paoli PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Paoli PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, 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 syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Paoli PA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the education 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 may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Paoli PA home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to 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 economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little 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.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Paoli PA along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Paoli 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Paoli PA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Paoli 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 colleges 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Paoli PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Paoli PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Paoli PA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Paoli PA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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