How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Wyoming
Searching for the right nursing school in Wyoming may seem like a formidable project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Wyoming medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Wyoming, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Wyoming. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Wyoming community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Wyoming colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Wyoming or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Wyoming board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second 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 complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Wyoming approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study 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 obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Wyoming to make sure that the training course 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 can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Wyoming. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Wyoming and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools in Wyoming.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Wyoming or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Wyoming school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional 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 colleges 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Wyoming medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Wyoming nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course in Wyoming
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Wyoming.