How to Find the Right Nursing School in Knox Pennsylvania
Selecting the best nursing program in Knox PA may seem like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Having said that, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the nursing school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system in Knox PA. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Knox PA with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Knox PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Knox PA healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Knox PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 generally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received 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 fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to check with the Knox PA board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are basically two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with 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 type of credential you seek, it should be Knox PA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure 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 suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Knox PA to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Knox PA healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Knox 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 manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools in Knox PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet 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. Additionally, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Knox PA 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Knox PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Knox 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 too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College in Knox PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Knox PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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