How to Pick a Nursing Program in West Point Virginia
Locating the best nursing college near West Point VA may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional things to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the West Point VA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in West Point VA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in West Point VA. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Virginia community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in West Point VA or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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 change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in West Point VA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit 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 needs to be Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the West Point VA area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Virginia to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Virginia. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your West Point VA home, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with 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 active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Virginia and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school relative to West Point VA along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near West Point VA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 essential that the West Point VA area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local West Point 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 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 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 favorable reputation within the West Point VA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all West Point VA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near West Point VA
Selecting the right registered nursing program is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select 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 practicing RN in West Point VA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must organize a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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