How to Select a Nursing Program in Fond du Lac Wisconsin
Selecting the best nursing program near Fond du Lac WI may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional things to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Fond du Lac WI medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising 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 responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Fond du Lac WI, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Fond du Lac WI. And 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Wisconsin community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Wisconsin colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 usually a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Fond du Lac WI or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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 make sure to contact the Wisconsin board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Fond du Lac WI. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive 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 Wisconsin approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Fond du Lac WI area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 amount of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with 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 Wisconsin to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Wisconsin. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Fond du Lac WI home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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 work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Wisconsin 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 previously pointed out, the location of the school relative to Fond du Lac WI and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Fond du Lac WI.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Fond du Lac WI area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Wisconsin or the state where you will be practicing.
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 Wisconsin school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Fond du Lac WI 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fond du Lac WI medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Fond du Lac WI area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Degree near Fond du Lac WI
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Fond du Lac WI.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several 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, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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