How to Pick a Nursing Program in Lansdale Pennsylvania
Searching for the right nursing college near Lansdale PA may seem like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to decide on 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 review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Lansdale PA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Lansdale PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Lansdale PA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Lansdale 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) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lansdale PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lansdale PA area. The length 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 required 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 minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Lansdale PA home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to Lansdale PA as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Lansdale PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Lansdale PA area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit 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 too. Also, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Lansdale PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Lansdale PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Lansdale PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Lansdale PA
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lansdale PA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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