How to Choose a Nursing College in Kenmore Washington
Searching for the right nursing program near Kenmore WA may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Kenmore WA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, 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:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Kenmore WA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Kenmore WA. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Washington community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Washington colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Kenmore WA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Washington board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Kenmore WA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage 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. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Washington approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Kenmore WA area. The length of the instruction 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 training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 Washington 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 can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Washington. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Kenmore WA home, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Washington and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Kenmore WA as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Kenmore WA.
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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Kenmore WA area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Washington school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Kenmore WA 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Kenmore WA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Kenmore WA area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Kenmore WA
Choosing the right registered nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Kenmore WA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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