How to Find the Right Nursing College in Chester West Virginia
Selecting the best nursing program near Chester WV may seem like a formidable project, particularly 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 must obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional aspects to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Chester WV medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Chester WV, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Chester WV. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by West Virginia community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at West Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Chester WV 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the West Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are essentially two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Chester WV. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Chester WV area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for West Virginia to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in West Virginia. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Chester WV home, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within West Virginia and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Chester WV as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Chester WV.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Chester WV area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for West Virginia or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the West Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Chester WV 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 displeased 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 Chester WV healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Chester WV area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Chester WV
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school 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 produce a short list 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 licensed registered nurse in Chester WV.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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