How to Select a Nursing College in Seneca Pennsylvania
Selecting the right nursing program in Seneca PA may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Seneca PA. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Seneca PA with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And 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 continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Seneca PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Seneca PA healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Seneca PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Seneca PA board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Seneca PA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to 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 length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Seneca PA to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Seneca PA healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Seneca PA and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably 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 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools in Seneca PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Seneca 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Seneca PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Seneca PA clinical environment. Essentially all Pennsylvania nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask 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 College in Seneca PA
Deciding on the right registered nursing college is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select 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 Seneca PA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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