How to Pick a Nursing School in Dolores Colorado
Locating the right nursing college near Dolores CO may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Dolores CO healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Dolores CO, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Dolores CO. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain 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 typically a two year program offered by Colorado community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Colorado 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 might 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Dolores CO or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Colorado board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Dolores CO. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Colorado 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 effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to 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 Dolores CO area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Colorado to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Colorado. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Dolores CO home, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use 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 Colorado and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Dolores CO as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Dolores CO.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Dolores CO area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Colorado school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Dolores CO 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Dolores CO medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Dolores CO area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Dolores CO
Choosing the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Dolores CO.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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