How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Shenandoah Pennsylvania
Choosing the right nursing school near Shenandoah 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 understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Shenandoah PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Shenandoah PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Shenandoah PA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Shenandoah PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Shenandoah PA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually 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 provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Shenandoah PA area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Pennsylvania to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as 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 Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Shenandoah PA home, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as 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 are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to Shenandoah PA as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Shenandoah PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along 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 imperative that the Shenandoah PA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 speak with some nearby Shenandoah 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Shenandoah PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Shenandoah PA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Shenandoah PA
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Shenandoah PA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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