How to Enroll In a Nursing Program in Charleston West Virginia
Choosing the best nursing college near Charleston WV may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to check out before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Charleston WV medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Charleston WV, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Charleston WV. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve 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 usually a two year program made available by West Virginia community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at West Virginia 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 wish 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Charleston WV or focus 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the West Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Charleston WV. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be West Virginia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Charleston WV area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course 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 check with the health or nursing board for West Virginia to make certain that the training course is state certified. 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 Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in West Virginia. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Charleston WV home, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within West Virginia and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Charleston WV along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial 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 compares 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Charleston WV.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Charleston WV area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for West Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the West Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Charleston WV healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 superb reputation within the Charleston WV medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Charleston WV area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Charleston WV
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Charleston WV.
Why Did You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What made you decide on 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 also what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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