How to Select a Nursing School in Williamstown Pennsylvania
Finding the right nursing school in Williamstown PA may feel like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure 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 proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional things to look into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Williamstown PA. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Williamstown PA with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
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 just 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 available in Williamstown PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Williamstown PA healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Williamstown PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Williamstown PA board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Williamstown PA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the instruction 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Williamstown PA to make certain that the training course 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Williamstown PA healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Williamstown PA and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Williamstown PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Williamstown 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 schools you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Williamstown PA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Williamstown PA clinical setting. 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. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Degree in Williamstown PA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Williamstown PA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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