How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Decatur Tennessee
Locating the best nursing college near Decatur TN may seem like a challenging project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Decatur TN medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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 Decatur TN, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Decatur TN. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Tennessee community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Tennessee colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Decatur TN or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained 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. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Tennessee board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Decatur TN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Tennessee approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Decatur TN area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 minimum period of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Tennessee to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as 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.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Tennessee. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Decatur TN home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Tennessee and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Decatur TN as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Decatur TN.
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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Decatur TN area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Tennessee or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Tennessee school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Decatur TN 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 programs 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Decatur TN medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Decatur TN area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Decatur TN
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Decatur TN.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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