How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Alexandria South Dakota
Locating the right nursing school near Alexandria SD may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Alexandria SD medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Alexandria SD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Alexandria SD. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn 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 typically a two year program made available by South Dakota community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at South Dakota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Alexandria SD or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the South Dakota board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Alexandria SD. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be South Dakota approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Alexandria SD area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 South Dakota to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in South Dakota. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Alexandria SD home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 work and household obligations have left you with limited 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 hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within South Dakota and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Alexandria SD along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Alexandria SD.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Alexandria SD area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for South Dakota 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 considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the South Dakota school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Alexandria SD healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Alexandria SD 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 setting. Almost all Alexandria SD area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course near Alexandria SD
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Alexandria SD.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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