How to Choose a Nursing School in Elkwood Virginia
Selecting the right nursing school near Elkwood VA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional considerations to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Elkwood VA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Elkwood VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Elkwood VA. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Virginia community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Virginia 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 may desire to advance 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 two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Elkwood VA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Virginia board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Elkwood VA. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Elkwood VA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Virginia to make sure that the training course 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 may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Virginia. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Elkwood VA home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Virginia and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to Elkwood VA as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Elkwood VA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Elkwood VA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Virginia school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Elkwood 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 finish 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 Elkwood VA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Elkwood VA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Elkwood VA
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Elkwood VA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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