How to Choose a Nursing College in Bellingham Minnesota
Locating the best nursing school in Bellingham MN may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Having said that, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system in Bellingham MN. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Bellingham MN with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in Bellingham MN.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Bellingham MN medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Bellingham MN 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Bellingham MN board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option 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, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Bellingham MN approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly 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 have 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 instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Bellingham MN to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to 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 Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Bellingham MN healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Bellingham MN 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 previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools in Bellingham MN.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Minnesota or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services 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 Minnesota school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Bellingham MN healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Bellingham MN healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Bellingham MN clinical environment. Virtually all Minnesota nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course in Bellingham MN
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Bellingham MN.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Some Cities in Minnesota You May be Interested In