How to Pick a Nursing College in Grindstone Pennsylvania
Searching for the best nursing program in Grindstone PA may seem like a challenging project, particularly 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 proper education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Grindstone PA. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Grindstone PA 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 commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Grindstone PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Grindstone PA medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Grindstone PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Grindstone PA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Grindstone PA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained 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 obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 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 that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Grindstone PA to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Grindstone PA healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily 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. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Grindstone PA and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Grindstone PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Grindstone PA 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Grindstone PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Grindstone PA clinical environment. Essentially all Pennsylvania nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College in Grindstone PA
Choosing the right registered nursing school is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Grindstone PA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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