How to Pick a Nursing Program in Shippensburg Pennsylvania
Locating the best nursing school in Shippensburg PA may feel like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Having said that, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system in Shippensburg PA. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Shippensburg PA with a higher degree may have more advanced 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 deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in Shippensburg PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Shippensburg PA medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Shippensburg PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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 can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Shippensburg PA board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive 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 Shippensburg 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 properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received 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 3 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Shippensburg PA to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Shippensburg PA healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Shippensburg PA and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools in Shippensburg PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies 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 reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 nearby Shippensburg 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Shippensburg PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Shippensburg PA clinical environment. Almost all Pennsylvania nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program in Shippensburg PA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Shippensburg PA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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