How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Columbia Louisiana
Choosing the best nursing college near Columbia LA may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Columbia LA medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Columbia LA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Columbia LA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Louisiana community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Louisiana 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Columbia LA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Louisiana board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Columbia LA. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Louisiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Columbia LA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Louisiana to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as 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.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Louisiana. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Columbia LA home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Louisiana and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to Columbia LA as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Columbia LA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Columbia LA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Louisiana school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Columbia LA 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 considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Columbia LA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Columbia LA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Columbia LA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Columbia LA.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents 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 need to prepare several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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