How to Choose a Nursing School in Wausau Wisconsin
Searching for the right nursing school near Wausau WI may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Wausau WI medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Wausau WI, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Wausau WI. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve 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 commonly a 2 year program offered by Wisconsin community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Wisconsin colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Wausau WI or focus 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) in order 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.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are essentially two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Wausau WI. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Wisconsin approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Wausau WI area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Wisconsin to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree in Wisconsin. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Wausau WI home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Wisconsin and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Wausau WI as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Wausau WI.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Wausau WI area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Wisconsin or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Wisconsin school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Wausau 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Wausau WI healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Wausau WI area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Wausau WI
Choosing the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each 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 select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Wausau WI.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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