How to Choose a Nursing School in Dunedin Florida
Searching for the right nursing college near Dunedin FL may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many important additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Dunedin FL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Dunedin FL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Dunedin FL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Florida community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Florida colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Dunedin FL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Florida board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Dunedin FL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Florida approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus 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 instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Dunedin FL area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and 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 suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Florida to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Florida. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Dunedin FL home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Florida and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Dunedin FL as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. 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 field.
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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Dunedin FL.
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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Dunedin FL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Florida or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Florida school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Dunedin FL 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 schools 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Dunedin FL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Dunedin FL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Dunedin FL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Dunedin FL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number 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 outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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