RN Nursing Programs in Rapid City SD 57701

How to Pick a Nursing School in Rapid City South Dakota

Rapid City SD Registered NurseSelecting the right nursing school near Rapid City SD may feel like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Rapid City SD medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Rapid City SD, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degree Options

There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Rapid City SD. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by South Dakota community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at South Dakota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment 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 instance to become a nurse practitioner in Rapid City SD or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the South Dakota board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN Courses

RN assisting surgeon in Rapid City SDThere are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Rapid City SD. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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.

CNA Programs

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Rapid City SD area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for South Dakota to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.

Online Nursing Classes

attending nursing school online in Rapid City SDAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in South Dakota. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Rapid City SD home, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments 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.

What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within South Dakota and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Rapid City SD and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Rapid City SD.

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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Rapid City SD area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for South Dakota or the state where you will be working.

Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the South Dakota school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Rapid City SD 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 looking at 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 displeased 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 Rapid City SD medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.

Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Rapid City SD area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right RN Degree near Rapid City SD

Selecting the right registered nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Rapid City SD.

Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?

When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.

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