How to Find the Right Nursing College in Watsontown Pennsylvania
Finding the best nursing school near Watsontown PA may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Watsontown PA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Watsontown PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Watsontown PA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Watsontown PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Watsontown PA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Watsontown PA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Watsontown 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 less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Watsontown PA as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Watsontown PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Watsontown PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Watsontown 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Watsontown PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Watsontown PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Watsontown PA
Selecting the right registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Watsontown PA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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