How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Elkhart Indiana
Selecting the best nursing school near Elkhart IN may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Elkhart IN medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Elkhart IN, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Elkhart IN. 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 two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Indiana community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Indiana colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Elkhart IN or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Indiana board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Elkhart IN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Indiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some 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 Elkhart IN area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 minimum period of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 Indiana to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Indiana. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Elkhart IN home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Indiana and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Elkhart IN as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Elkhart IN.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Elkhart IN area school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Indiana or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Indiana school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Elkhart IN 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 looking at 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 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 Elkhart IN 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 setting. Virtually all Elkhart IN area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Elkhart IN
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Elkhart IN.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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