How to Choose a Nursing College in Gastonia North Carolina
Choosing the right nursing college in Gastonia NC may seem like a complex project, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Gastonia NC. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact 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:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses in Gastonia NC with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Gastonia NC.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Gastonia NC medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Gastonia NC colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Gastonia NC board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Gastonia NC approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Gastonia NC to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Gastonia NC healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Gastonia NC and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools in Gastonia NC.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. 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 enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for North Carolina or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the North Carolina school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Gastonia NC 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 schools 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 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 Gastonia NC medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Gastonia NC clinical setting. Almost all North Carolina nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School in Gastonia NC
Selecting the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick 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 licensed RN in Gastonia NC.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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