How to Select a Nursing Program in Stevens Point Wisconsin
Selecting the best nursing college near Stevens Point WI may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Stevens Point WI medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid 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 in addition to where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Stevens Point WI, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Stevens Point WI. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Wisconsin community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later 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 Wisconsin colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Stevens Point WI or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Wisconsin board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Stevens Point WI. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain 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, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Wisconsin approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly 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 attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Stevens Point WI 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 required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Wisconsin to make sure that the training 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 requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Wisconsin. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Stevens Point WI home, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding 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 easily affordable. And numerous 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 household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Wisconsin and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Stevens Point WI and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Stevens Point WI.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Stevens Point WI area school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Wisconsin or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Wisconsin school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Stevens Point 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 considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Stevens Point WI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Stevens Point WI area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Stevens Point WI
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in 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 utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Stevens Point WI.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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