How to Select a Nursing School in Chantilly Virginia
Searching for the best nursing program in Chantilly VA may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Having said that, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many crucial additional considerations to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Chantilly VA. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Chantilly VA with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Chantilly VA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Chantilly VA healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Chantilly VA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to progress 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 provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Chantilly VA board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be Chantilly VA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained 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, leading to 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 period of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Chantilly VA to make sure that the training course is state approved. 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.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local Chantilly VA healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more 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. So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Chantilly VA and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in Chantilly VA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Virginia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Chantilly VA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Chantilly VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Chantilly VA clinical setting. Almost all Virginia nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course in Chantilly VA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, 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 using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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 RN in Chantilly VA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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