How to Pick a Nursing Program in Bridgewater Virginia
Selecting the best nursing school in Bridgewater VA may seem like a formidable endeavor, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the nursing school. Selecting the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system in Bridgewater VA. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Bridgewater VA with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 common 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Bridgewater VA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Bridgewater VA healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Bridgewater VA 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 want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Bridgewater VA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
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 2nd choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Bridgewater VA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the 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 contact the health or nursing board for Bridgewater VA to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Bridgewater VA healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach 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 supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Bridgewater VA and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in Bridgewater VA.
- 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. Many states require a specified 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 requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Virginia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Bridgewater VA 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bridgewater VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Bridgewater VA clinical setting. Virtually all Virginia nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program in Bridgewater VA
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Bridgewater VA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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