How to Select a Nursing Program in Fredericksburg Virginia
Searching for the right nursing school in Fredericksburg VA may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. Having said that, too many potential students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system in Fredericksburg VA. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role 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 along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Fredericksburg VA with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 multiple degrees offered 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 acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Fredericksburg VA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Fredericksburg VA medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Fredericksburg 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 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 generally a 2 year program after receiving 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 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. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Fredericksburg VA board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, 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 Fredericksburg VA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Fredericksburg VA to make sure that the education 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Fredericksburg VA healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Fredericksburg VA and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools in Fredericksburg VA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Virginia school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Fredericksburg 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 schools you are looking at 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Fredericksburg VA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Fredericksburg VA clinical setting. Almost all Virginia nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course in Fredericksburg VA
Choosing the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Fredericksburg VA.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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