How to Select a Nursing Program in Schenectady New York
Finding the best nursing program near Schenectady NY may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Schenectady NY medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Schenectady NY, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Schenectady NY. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by New York community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at New York colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Schenectady NY or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the New York board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Schenectady NY. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be New York approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Schenectady NY area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for New York to make certain that the education is state certified. 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 Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in New York. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Schenectady NY home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout New York and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Schenectady NY and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Schenectady NY.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Schenectady NY area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for New York or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the New York school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Schenectady NY 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Schenectady NY medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Schenectady NY area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Schenectady NY
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Schenectady NY.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically 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 so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in New York