How to Select a Nursing School in Stewartstown Pennsylvania
Locating the best nursing school near Stewartstown PA may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Stewartstown PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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 Stewartstown 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 Stewartstown PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 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 might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Stewartstown PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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 make sure to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Stewartstown PA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide 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 attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Stewartstown PA area. The length of the training 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the education 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 might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Stewartstown PA home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Stewartstown PA and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Stewartstown PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Stewartstown PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Stewartstown 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Stewartstown PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Stewartstown PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Stewartstown PA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Stewartstown PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating 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 leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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