How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Lexington Tennessee
Selecting the right nursing college near Lexington TN may feel like a complicated project, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Lexington TN medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Lexington TN, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Lexington TN. 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 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally 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 afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Tennessee colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Lexington TN or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Tennessee board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lexington TN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Tennessee approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lexington TN area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Tennessee to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Tennessee. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Lexington TN home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly 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 numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Tennessee and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Lexington TN and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Lexington TN.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Lexington TN area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Tennessee or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Tennessee school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Lexington 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 colleges 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 Lexington TN healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Lexington TN area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Lexington TN
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Lexington TN.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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