How to Select a Nursing School in Preston Iowa
Finding the right nursing school near Preston IA may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional things to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Preston IA medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Preston IA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Preston IA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn 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 normally a 2 year program made available by Iowa community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Iowa colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 commonly a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Preston IA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Iowa board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Preston IA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option 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 kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Preston IA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three 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 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 every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Iowa to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Iowa. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Preston IA home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Iowa and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Preston IA along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Preston IA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Preston IA area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 Preston 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 programs you are considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Preston IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Preston IA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Preston IA
Picking the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Preston IA.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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