How to Select a Nursing Program in Greenfield Iowa
Selecting the right nursing school near Greenfield IA may seem like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Greenfield IA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Greenfield IA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Greenfield IA. 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 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Iowa community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Iowa colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 typically a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Greenfield IA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Iowa board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Greenfield IA. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Iowa 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Greenfield IA area. The length 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 mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Iowa. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Greenfield IA home, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Iowa and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Greenfield IA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Greenfield IA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Greenfield IA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Greenfield 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Greenfield IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Greenfield IA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Greenfield IA
Picking the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Greenfield IA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have 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 concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Iowa