How to Choose a Nursing School near Sun Valley Idaho
Locating the best nursing school near Sun Valley ID may seem like a formidable project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional things to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Sun Valley ID hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex 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 Degree Options
There is more than one degree option 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Sun Valley ID 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 healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally 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 might 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 usually a two year program after acquiring 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 acquired one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Idaho board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Idaho approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at Sun Valley ID area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 training required and every state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Idaho or the state where you will be practicing. One tip 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 requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Sun Valley ID or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Idaho and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Sun Valley ID for non-accredited schools.
- 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Idaho or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Idaho school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Sun Valley ID 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 considering 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Sun Valley ID healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 Sun Valley ID hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many Sun Valley ID students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Sun Valley ID?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Sun Valley Idaho 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.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley is a resort city in Blaine County, Idaho, United States. The resort is adjacent to the city of Ketchum and within the greater Wood River valley. The population was 1,406 at the 2010 census, down from 1,427 in 2000. The elevation of Sun Valley (at the Lodge) is 5,920 feet (1,805 m) above sea level. Scheduled passenger airline service is available via the Friedman Memorial Airport located in nearby Hailey, approximately 15 miles (25 km) south. Visitors to Sun Valley are relatively close to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, accessed over Galena Summit on State Highway 75, the Sawtooth Scenic Byway.
Among skiers, the term "Sun Valley" refers to the alpine ski area, which consists of Bald Mountain, the main ski mountain adjacent to Ketchum, and Dollar Mountain, adjacent to Sun Valley, for novice and lower intermediate skiers. Bald Mountain, or "Baldy," has a summit of 9,150 feet (2,790 m) and a vertical drop of 3,400 feet (1,035 m).
With its abundance of constant-pitch terrain, at varying degrees of difficulty, coupled with its substantial vertical drop and absence of wind, Baldy has often been referred to as one of the better ski mountains in the world. The treeless "Dollar" at 6,638 feet (2,023 m) has a moderate vertical drop of 628 feet (191 m).
Enroll in the Right Nursing Program near Sun Valley ID
Deciding on the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Sun Valley ID.
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