How to Choose a Nursing School in Minneapolis Minnesota
Searching for the best nursing college near Minneapolis MN may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Minneapolis MN healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty 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 in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Minneapolis MN, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Minneapolis MN. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Minnesota community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Minnesota 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 wish to progress 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Minneapolis MN or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Minnesota board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are basically two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Minneapolis MN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Minnesota approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any 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.
In contrast to some 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 Minneapolis MN area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 Minnesota to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Minnesota. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Minneapolis MN home, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of 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 limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Minnesota and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Minneapolis MN as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Minneapolis MN.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Minneapolis MN area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Minnesota school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Minneapolis MN 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Minneapolis MN healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Minneapolis MN area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Minneapolis MN
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Minneapolis MN.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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