How to Choose a Nursing College in North Charleston South Carolina
Choosing the right nursing program near North Charleston SC may feel like a formidable project, 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 acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional things to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the North Charleston SC healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in North Charleston SC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in North Charleston SC. And in order 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 short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by South Carolina community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at South Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in North Charleston SC or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the South Carolina board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in North Charleston SC. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to 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 kind of credential you seek, it should be South Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly 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 need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the North Charleston SC area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for South Carolina to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to 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.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in South Carolina. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your North Charleston SC home, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, 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 South Carolina and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to North Charleston SC and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near North Charleston SC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the North Charleston SC area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for South Carolina or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the South Carolina school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby North Charleston 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 colleges 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the North Charleston SC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all North Charleston SC area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near North Charleston SC
Choosing the right registered nursing college is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in North Charleston SC.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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