RN Nursing Programs in Erie PA 16501

How to Choose a Nursing College in Erie Pennsylvania

Erie PA Registered NurseSelecting the right nursing program near Erie PA may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Erie PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Providing medications
  • Observing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Erie 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 Erie PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn 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 made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Erie PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN and LVN Training

RN assisting surgeon in Erie PAThere are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Erie PA. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain 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. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Erie PA area. The duration of the training 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 have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential 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 sure that the training 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 other requirements as well.

Online Nursing Programs

attending nursing school online in Erie PAAttending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Erie PA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many 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 affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations 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 active schedule.

Questions to Ask Nurse Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Erie PA along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Erie 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Erie PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps 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 agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Erie PA 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Erie PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.

Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Erie PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Select the Right RN School near Erie PA

Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Erie PA.

Why Did You Want to Become an RN?

When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.

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