How to Pick a Nursing School in Alexandria Kentucky
Selecting the best nursing program near Alexandria KY may seem like a formidable project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Alexandria KY healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact 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
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Alexandria KY, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Alexandria KY. 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 two 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 typically a two year program offered by Kentucky community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Kentucky 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 want 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Alexandria KY 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Kentucky board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Alexandria KY. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Kentucky approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Alexandria KY area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential 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 suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Kentucky to make certain that the training 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Kentucky. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually 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 Alexandria KY home, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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 family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Kentucky and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Alexandria KY and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Alexandria KY.
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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Alexandria KY area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Kentucky or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Kentucky school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Alexandria KY 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 considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alexandria KY medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Alexandria KY area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Alexandria KY
Choosing the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alexandria KY.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready some approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Kentucky