How to Choose a Nursing College near Lookout Mountain Georgia
Locating the best nursing program near Lookout Mountain GA may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional factors to investigate before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Lookout Mountain GA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Lookout Mountain GA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use 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 in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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.
When 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Georgia board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Georgia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Lookout Mountain GA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Lookout Mountain GA or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, 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 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Lookout Mountain GA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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. Certain 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 exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Georgia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Lookout Mountain GA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Lookout Mountain GA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with Lookout Mountain GA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for some Lookout Mountain GA students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Lookout Mountain GA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Lookout Mountain Georgia area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lookout Mountain is a mountain ridge located at the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Georgia, the northeast corner of Alabama, and along the Tennessee state line in Chattanooga. Lookout Mountain was the scene of the "Last Battle of the Cherokees" during the Nickajack Expedition, which took place in the 18th century, as well as the November 24, 1863 Battle of Lookout Mountain during the American Civil War.
Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain (to the southwest) make up a large portion of the southernmost end of the Cumberland Plateau. The area was lifted from an ancient sea, and worn down by erosion for millions of years. The summit, called "High Point", is located just east of Thompsonville in Walker County, Georgia, with an elevation of 2,392 feet (729 m) above sea level. The foothills of the mountain extend into Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
The caves of Ruby Falls are in Lookout Mountain, and the rock formations of the "City of Rocks" (or Rock City) attraction are situated on the ridge. The area is home to the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, Covenant College, and a hang-gliding school. Lookout Mountain is one of the Chattanooga area's most visited tourist attractions. Civil War-related landmarks include "Point Park", operated by the National Park Service, and the Cravens House. Nearby are Georgia's Cloudland Canyon and Cloudland Canyon State Park.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Lookout Mountain GA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing college is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Lookout Mountain GA.
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