How to Choose a Nursing Program in Orlando Florida
Choosing the best nursing school near Orlando FL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Orlando FL medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Orlando FL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Orlando FL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Florida community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Florida colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Orlando FL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Florida board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Orlando FL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Florida 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Orlando FL area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in 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 minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Florida to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Florida. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Orlando FL home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Florida and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Orlando FL as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points 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 see how your selection compares to the field.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Orlando FL.
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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Orlando FL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Florida or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Florida school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Orlando 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 colleges 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Orlando FL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Orlando FL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near Orlando FL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Orlando FL.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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