How to Pick a Nursing Program in Des Moines Iowa
Selecting the right nursing school near Des Moines IA may feel like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure 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 obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional considerations to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Des Moines IA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, 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 depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 Des Moines IA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Des Moines IA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Iowa community colleges. It preps 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 achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Iowa colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Des Moines IA or concentrate 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Iowa board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Des Moines IA. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Des Moines IA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the 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 Iowa to make sure that the training 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 Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Iowa. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Des Moines IA home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Iowa and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Des Moines IA as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Des Moines IA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 Des Moines IA area school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Des Moines IA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Des Moines IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Des Moines IA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Des Moines IA
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Des Moines IA.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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