How to Enroll In a Nursing College in Gratz Pennsylvania
Selecting the right nursing college near Gratz PA may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Gratz PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact 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
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Gratz PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Gratz PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Gratz PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Gratz PA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Gratz PA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Gratz PA home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward 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.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Gratz PA along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Gratz PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 important that the Gratz PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Gratz 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 programs 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gratz PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Gratz PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near Gratz PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Gratz PA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address 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 best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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