How to Pick a Nursing School in Natrona Heights Pennsylvania
Finding the best nursing school near Natrona Heights PA may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order 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 final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Natrona Heights PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Natrona Heights PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Natrona Heights PA. And in order 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 2 years, or continue on to obtain 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 normally a 2 year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 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 may desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Natrona Heights PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Natrona Heights PA. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, 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 adequately 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Natrona Heights PA area. The length of the training program 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 have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Natrona Heights PA home, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Natrona Heights PA as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Natrona Heights 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Natrona Heights PA area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Natrona Heights 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 programs 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 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 good reputation within the Natrona Heights PA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Natrona Heights PA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Natrona Heights PA
Choosing the right registered nursing school is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose an RN school 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 ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Natrona Heights PA.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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