How to Pick a Nursing School in Chesterfield South Carolina
Choosing the best nursing program near Chesterfield SC 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, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional things to investigate before you decide 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 health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Chesterfield SC medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Chesterfield SC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Chesterfield SC. And 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by South Carolina community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at South Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Chesterfield SC or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the South Carolina board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Chesterfield SC. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be South Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 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 Chesterfield SC area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 amount of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for South Carolina to make sure 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 might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a nursing degree in South Carolina. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost 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 Chesterfield SC home, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental 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 household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout South Carolina and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Chesterfield SC and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Chesterfield SC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Chesterfield SC area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for South Carolina or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the South Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Chesterfield SC 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 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 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 Chesterfield SC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Chesterfield SC area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Program near Chesterfield SC
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chesterfield SC.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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