How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Ames Iowa
Finding the best nursing school in Ames IA may feel like a difficult project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system in Ames IA. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Ames IA with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Ames IA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Ames IA healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Ames IA 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 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 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Ames IA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Ames IA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Ames IA to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Ames IA healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Ames IA and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Ames IA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at 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. Additionally, get in touch with the Iowa school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Ames IA 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 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Ames IA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Ames IA clinical setting. Virtually all Iowa nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program in Ames IA
Choosing the right registered nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Ames IA.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Some Cities in Iowa You May be Interested In