How to Pick a Nursing College in Orangeburg South Carolina
Selecting the right nursing school near Orangeburg SC may feel like a complex 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 must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your home is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Orangeburg SC medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to aid 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 along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Orangeburg SC, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Orangeburg SC. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by South Carolina community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at South Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Orangeburg SC or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the South Carolina board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Orangeburg SC. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage 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 pursue, it needs to be South Carolina approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Orangeburg SC area. The length of the instruction 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 receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for South Carolina to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in South Carolina. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Orangeburg SC home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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 responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within South Carolina and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to Orangeburg SC and the cost 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 only qualifiers. So prior to 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Orangeburg SC.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Orangeburg SC area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for South Carolina or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the South Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Orangeburg SC 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 finish 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 favorable reputation within the Orangeburg SC healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Orangeburg SC area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of 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 placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Orangeburg SC
Choosing the right registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Orangeburg SC.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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