How to Pick a Nursing School in Bridgewater Virginia
Finding the best nursing school near Bridgewater VA may seem like a complicated project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations 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 medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Bridgewater VA medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating 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 high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Bridgewater VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Bridgewater VA. And in order 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 advance 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 2 year program made available by Virginia community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Bridgewater VA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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 Virginia board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Bridgewater VA. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive 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 Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Bridgewater VA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with 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 Virginia to make certain that the training course 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 may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Virginia. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Bridgewater VA home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Virginia and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Bridgewater VA along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Bridgewater VA.
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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Bridgewater VA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Virginia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Bridgewater VA 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 schools 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Bridgewater VA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Bridgewater VA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near Bridgewater VA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Bridgewater VA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many 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 appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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