How to Select a Nursing College in Paoli Pennsylvania
Selecting the right nursing program in Paoli PA may seem like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Choosing the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system in Paoli PA. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Paoli 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 generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Paoli PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Paoli PA healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Paoli PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Paoli PA board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Paoli PA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Paoli PA to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Paoli PA healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Paoli PA and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Paoli PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Paoli 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 programs you are considering 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Paoli PA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Paoli PA clinical setting. Essentially all Pennsylvania nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree in Paoli PA
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Paoli PA.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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