How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Wagontown Pennsylvania
Selecting the best nursing college near Wagontown PA may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order 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 program you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Wagontown PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Wagontown PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Wagontown 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 continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Wagontown PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 fluctuate 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 credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Wagontown PA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to 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 seek, it needs to be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Wagontown PA area. The duration 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the education 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 other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Wagontown PA home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Wagontown PA as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. 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 compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Wagontown 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) along with 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 imperative that the Wagontown PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Wagontown PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Wagontown PA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Wagontown PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Degree near Wagontown PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in 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 create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Wagontown PA.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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