How to Choose a Nursing School in Fincastle Virginia
Finding the best nursing program near Fincastle VA may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional considerations to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Fincastle VA medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, private 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 specific 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
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Fincastle VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Fincastle VA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Virginia community colleges. It prepares 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 ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Fincastle VA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Virginia board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fincastle VA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering 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 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fincastle VA area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 amount of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Virginia to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Virginia. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Fincastle VA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Virginia and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Fincastle VA and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see 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 ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Fincastle VA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Fincastle VA area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Fincastle VA 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 schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Fincastle VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Fincastle VA area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course near Fincastle VA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing school is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Fincastle VA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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