How to Pick a Nursing School in Pacific Missouri
Choosing the right nursing college near Pacific MO may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential 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 cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Pacific MO healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Pacific MO, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Pacific MO. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain 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 generally a two year program offered by Missouri community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Missouri 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 may 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 usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Pacific MO or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Missouri board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Pacific MO. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, 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 Missouri approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Pacific MO area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 period of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Missouri to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Missouri. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Pacific MO home, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Missouri and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Pacific MO along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Pacific MO.
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) along with 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 important that the Pacific MO area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Missouri or the state where you will be working.
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. Additionally, get in touch with the Missouri school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Pacific MO healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Pacific MO medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Pacific MO area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Pacific MO
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Pacific MO.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Missouri