How to Select a Nursing School in Fairfax Station Virginia
Choosing the best nursing school near Fairfax Station VA may feel like a challenging project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various key additional considerations to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Fairfax Station VA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Fairfax Station VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Fairfax Station VA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries 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 preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities 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) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Fairfax Station VA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Virginia board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fairfax Station VA. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fairfax Station VA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Virginia to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to 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 Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Virginia. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Fairfax Station VA home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more 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. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start 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 essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Fairfax Station VA along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points 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 pick measures up to the field.
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 receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Fairfax Station VA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 imperative that the Fairfax Station VA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Virginia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Fairfax Station VA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairfax Station VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Fairfax Station VA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program near Fairfax Station VA
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Fairfax Station VA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare some approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the position. 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 help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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