How to Select a Nursing School in Newtown Pennsylvania
Locating the best nursing program near Newtown PA may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Newtown PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent 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
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Newtown PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Newtown PA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Newtown PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he 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 be sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Newtown PA. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Newtown PA area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the 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 check with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure 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 may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Newtown PA home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Newtown PA along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Newtown PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Newtown PA area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 Newtown 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 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 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 Newtown PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Newtown PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Newtown PA
Picking the right registered nursing school is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Newtown PA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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