How to Choose a Nursing School in Middletown Pennsylvania
Searching for the best nursing program near Middletown PA may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Middletown PA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Middletown PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Middletown PA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later 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 eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire 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 usually a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Middletown PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Middletown PA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly 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 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 Middletown PA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary 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 tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the training course 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 other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain 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 specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Middletown PA home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Middletown PA along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. 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 selection measures up to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Middletown 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Middletown PA area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares 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 evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Middletown 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 looking at 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 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 Middletown PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Middletown PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. 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 Middletown PA
Picking the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Middletown PA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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