How to Select a Nursing College in Boulder Montana
Searching for the right nursing school in Boulder MT may seem like a complicated project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system in Boulder MT. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Boulder MT with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Boulder MT.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Boulder MT medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a four year program offered at Boulder MT 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 want 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 typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Boulder MT board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides 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 kind of credential you seek, it should be Boulder MT 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 properly 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 need to attain a college degree. CNA education 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 just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each 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 contact the health or nursing board for Boulder MT to make sure 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Boulder MT healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Boulder MT and the United States. So it is essential to reduce 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 price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Boulder MT.
- 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Montana or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Montana school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Boulder MT 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Boulder MT medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Boulder MT clinical environment. Virtually all Montana nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Program in Boulder MT
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding 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 final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Boulder MT.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Some Cities in Montana You May be Interested In