How to Pick a Nursing College in California Pennsylvania
Searching for the best nursing school near California PA may feel like a complex endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore 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 Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the California PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in California PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in California PA. And 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 advance 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 normally a 2 year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in California PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in California PA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to earn 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, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of 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 education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the California PA area. The duration of the training program 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 required 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the training is state certified. 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 prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your California PA home, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to California PA along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial 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 pick 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near California PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the California PA area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional California 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the California PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all California PA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near California PA
Choosing the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in California PA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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