How to Choose a Nursing Program in Ridgway Pennsylvania
Finding the best nursing program near Ridgway PA may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Ridgway PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Ridgway PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Ridgway PA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 wish 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Ridgway PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ridgway PA. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering 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 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 course of study adequately 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 training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ridgway PA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Ridgway PA home, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Ridgway PA as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Ridgway PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Ridgway PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Ridgway 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 colleges 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Ridgway PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Ridgway PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Ridgway PA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Ridgway PA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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