How to Choose a Nursing Program in North South Carolina
Locating the right nursing college near North SC may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the North SC medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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 example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in North SC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in North SC. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by South Carolina community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at South Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in North SC or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the South Carolina board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in North SC. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be South Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the North SC area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for South Carolina to make certain that the training course 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in South Carolina. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your North SC home, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school 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 may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within South Carolina and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to North SC as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
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. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near North SC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the North SC area school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for South Carolina or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the South Carolina school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby North SC 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 schools 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the North SC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all North SC area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near North SC
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in North SC.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes 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 must ready some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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