How to Pick a Nursing Program near Hilo Hawaii
Locating the right nursing program near Hilo HI may seem like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order 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 ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, such as Hilo HI hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from 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 continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Hilo HI area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Hawaii board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Hawaii approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at Hilo HI area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for Hawaii or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Hilo HI or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Hawaii and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Hilo HI for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Hawaii or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Hawaii school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Hilo HI 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 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 Hilo HI medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hilo HI hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Hilo HI students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Hilo HI?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Hilo Hawaii 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.
Hilo (/ˌhiːloʊ/; Hawaiian: [ˈhilo]) is the largest settlement and census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 43,263 at the 2010 census.
Hilo is the county seat of the County of Hawaiʻi and is located in the District of South Hilo. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, at the base of two shield volcanoes; Mauna Loa, an active volcano, and Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano and the site of some of the world's most important ground-based astronomical observatories. Much of the city is at some risk from lava flows from Mauna Loa. The majority of human settlement in Hilo stretches from Hilo Bay to Waiākea-Uka, on the flanks of Mauna Loa.
Hilo is home to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula which takes place annually after Easter. Hilo is also home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, one of the world's leading producers of macadamia nuts. The town is served by Hilo International Airport.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Hilo HI
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Hilo HI.
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