How to Choose a Nursing College in Gate City Virginia
Locating the right nursing school near Gate City VA may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training 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. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Gate City VA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Gate City VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Gate City VA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Virginia community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Gate City VA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Virginia board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Gate City VA. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Gate City VA area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Virginia 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Virginia. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Gate City VA home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Virginia and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Gate City VA as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Gate City VA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Gate City VA area school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Virginia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Gate City VA 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 programs 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Gate City VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Gate City VA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Gate City VA
Choosing the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Gate City VA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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