How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Homestead Pennsylvania
Locating the best nursing program near Homestead PA may feel like a challenging project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Homestead 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 support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Homestead PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Homestead PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Homestead PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Homestead PA. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 guarantees 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 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 Homestead PA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one 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 minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the education is state approved. 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 requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Homestead PA home, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Homestead PA along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Homestead 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Homestead PA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Homestead 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 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 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 Homestead PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Homestead PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Homestead PA
Picking the right registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Homestead PA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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