How to Pick a Nursing School in Clarion Pennsylvania
Searching for the right nursing school near Clarion PA may seem like a challenging project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is probably not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Clarion PA medical 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 job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Clarion PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Clarion PA. And 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 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 normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Clarion PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Clarion PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering 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 Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Clarion PA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Clarion PA home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited 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.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Clarion PA and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Clarion PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Clarion PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments 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 find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Clarion PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Clarion PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Clarion PA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Clarion PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Clarion PA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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