How to Pick a Nursing Program in Huntingdon Valley Pennsylvania
Choosing the right nursing school near Huntingdon Valley PA may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional factors to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Huntingdon Valley PA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic 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 specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Huntingdon Valley PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Huntingdon Valley PA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Huntingdon Valley PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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 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 Programs
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Huntingdon Valley PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive 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.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Huntingdon Valley PA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Huntingdon Valley PA home, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Huntingdon Valley PA as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors 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 see how your selection measures up 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Huntingdon Valley PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Huntingdon Valley PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Huntingdon Valley 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 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 dissatisfied 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 Huntingdon Valley PA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Huntingdon Valley PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Huntingdon Valley PA
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Huntingdon Valley PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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