How to Pick a Nursing Program in Opelousas Louisiana
Selecting the best nursing program near Opelousas LA may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional aspects to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Opelousas LA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing 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 advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Opelousas LA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Opelousas LA. And 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 short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Louisiana community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Louisiana colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Opelousas LA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Louisiana board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Opelousas LA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Louisiana approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively 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 education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Opelousas LA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the 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 Louisiana to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as 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.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and acquire a nursing degree in Louisiana. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Opelousas LA home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Louisiana and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Opelousas LA as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Opelousas LA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Opelousas LA area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Louisiana school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Opelousas LA 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 colleges 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Opelousas LA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Opelousas LA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Opelousas LA
Picking the right registered nursing college is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN school 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 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Opelousas LA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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