How to Select a Nursing Program in Burlington North Carolina
Locating the best nursing program near Burlington NC may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Burlington NC healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Burlington NC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Burlington NC. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by North Carolina community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at North Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Burlington NC 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the North Carolina board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Burlington NC. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth 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 North Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Burlington NC area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training 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 North Carolina to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to 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.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in North Carolina. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Burlington NC home, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout North Carolina and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Burlington NC and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Burlington NC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Burlington NC area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for North Carolina or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the North Carolina school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Burlington NC 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 finish 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Burlington NC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Burlington NC area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Burlington NC
Choosing the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Burlington NC.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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