How to Select a Nursing School in Shippensburg Pennsylvania
Searching for the right nursing program near Shippensburg PA may feel like a challenging undertaking, especially 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 acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Shippensburg PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Shippensburg PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Shippensburg PA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries 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 preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical 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) 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 previous 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Shippensburg PA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Shippensburg PA. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, usually about twelve months, 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 option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering 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 type of credential you seek, it should be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Shippensburg PA area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure 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 certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Shippensburg PA home, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout 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 workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Shippensburg PA as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Shippensburg PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Shippensburg PA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Shippensburg PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 Shippensburg PA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Shippensburg PA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Shippensburg PA
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential 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 create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Shippensburg PA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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