How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Clearlake Washington
Choosing the best nursing program near Clearlake WA may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Clearlake WA medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job 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 area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Clearlake WA, 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 Clearlake WA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on 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 normally a 2 year program made available by Washington community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Washington colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Clearlake WA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Washington board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Clearlake WA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Washington approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Clearlake WA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 minimum amount of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain 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 check with the health or nursing board for Washington to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Washington. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Clearlake WA home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps 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 chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Washington and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Clearlake WA along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Clearlake WA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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 essential that the Clearlake WA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Washington or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Washington school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Clearlake WA 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 considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Clearlake WA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Clearlake WA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Clearlake WA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Clearlake WA.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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