How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Cedar Rapids Iowa
Finding the right nursing school in Cedar Rapids IA may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Having said that, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many key additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Cedar Rapids IA. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Cedar Rapids IA with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Cedar Rapids IA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Cedar Rapids IA medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Cedar Rapids IA 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 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 generally a 2 year program after acquiring 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Cedar Rapids IA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Cedar Rapids IA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program 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 minimal amount of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Cedar Rapids IA to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Cedar Rapids IA healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Cedar Rapids IA and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools in Cedar Rapids IA.
- 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Cedar Rapids IA 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 programs you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Cedar Rapids IA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Cedar Rapids IA clinical environment. Essentially all Iowa nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Course in Cedar Rapids IA
Selecting the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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 practicing nurse in Cedar Rapids IA.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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