How to Select a Nursing School in Hot Springs Virginia
Finding the right nursing college near Hot Springs VA may seem like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea 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 receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Hot Springs VA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support 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 functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing 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 high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Hot Springs VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Hot Springs VA. And in order 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 two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Virginia community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Hot Springs VA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Hot Springs VA. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Hot Springs VA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Virginia to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Virginia. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Hot Springs VA home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Virginia and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Hot Springs VA along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Hot Springs VA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Hot Springs VA area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Virginia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Hot Springs VA 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 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 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 good reputation within the Hot Springs VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Hot Springs VA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Hot Springs VA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hot Springs VA.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What made you select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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