How to Find the Right Nursing College in West Columbia South Carolina
Searching for the best nursing college near West Columbia SC may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the West Columbia SC medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 West Columbia SC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in West Columbia SC. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain 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 generally a two year program offered by South Carolina community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at South Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in West Columbia SC or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the South Carolina board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in West Columbia SC. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to 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 course of study effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the West Columbia SC area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for South Carolina to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in South Carolina. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your West Columbia SC home, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within South Carolina and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to West Columbia SC as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial 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 evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near West Columbia SC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 imperative that the West Columbia SC area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for South Carolina or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the South Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional West Columbia SC 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 schools 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 West Columbia SC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all West Columbia SC area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near West Columbia SC
Choosing the right registered nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in West Columbia SC.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you want 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 readying 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 candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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