How to Pick a Nursing College in Lopez Island Washington
Finding the best nursing school near Lopez Island WA may feel like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Lopez Island WA healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Lopez Island WA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Lopez Island WA. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Washington community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Washington colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Lopez Island WA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Washington board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Lopez Island WA. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Washington approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lopez Island WA area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Washington to make sure that the training course is state certified. 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 prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree in Washington. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Lopez Island WA home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within 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 earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Lopez Island WA and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Lopez Island WA.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Lopez Island WA area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Washington or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Washington school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Lopez Island WA 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Lopez Island WA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Lopez Island WA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near Lopez Island WA
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Lopez Island WA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Washington