How to Choose a Nursing Program in Southampton Pennsylvania
Locating the right nursing school near Southampton PA may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to investigate before you make a decision 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, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Southampton PA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Southampton PA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Southampton PA. And in order 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Pennsylvania community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 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 normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Southampton PA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Pennsylvania board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Southampton PA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 12 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 alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Pennsylvania approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Southampton PA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch 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 might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Pennsylvania. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Southampton PA home, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Southampton PA along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Southampton PA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Southampton PA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Southampton 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Southampton PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Southampton PA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Southampton PA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Southampton PA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should ready some strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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