How to Pick a Nursing Program in Merrifield Virginia
Locating the right nursing college in Merrifield VA may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Having said that, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Merrifield VA. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses in Merrifield VA with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And 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 two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Merrifield VA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Merrifield VA healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Merrifield VA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Merrifield VA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying 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 Merrifield VA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Merrifield VA to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Merrifield VA healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Merrifield VA and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools in Merrifield VA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Virginia school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Merrifield 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Merrifield VA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Merrifield VA clinical setting. Almost all Virginia nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check 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 Merrifield VA
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Merrifield VA.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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