How to Pick a Nursing College in Avondale Pennsylvania
Locating the best nursing college near Avondale PA may feel like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Avondale PA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Avondale PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Avondale PA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn 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 summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Avondale PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Avondale PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Avondale PA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 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 instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the training is state certified. 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 prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Avondale PA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 family 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 busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Avondale PA along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
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 verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Avondale PA.
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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Avondale PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Avondale PA 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 colleges you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Avondale PA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Avondale PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College near Avondale PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Avondale PA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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