How to Choose a Nursing School in Harrisburg North Carolina
Searching for the best nursing school near Harrisburg NC may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Harrisburg NC healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Harrisburg NC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Harrisburg NC. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by North Carolina community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at North Carolina 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 wish to progress 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Harrisburg NC or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the North Carolina board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Harrisburg NC. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. 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 finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive 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 North Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Harrisburg NC area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. 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 sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for North Carolina to make sure 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 might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in North Carolina. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Harrisburg NC home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household commitments have left you with 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 active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout North Carolina and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Harrisburg NC along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Harrisburg NC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Harrisburg NC area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for North Carolina or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the North Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Harrisburg NC 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Harrisburg NC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Harrisburg NC area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Harrisburg NC
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Harrisburg NC.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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