How to Pick a Nursing Program near Washington Iowa
Finding the best nursing program near Washington IA may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely Washington IA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of 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 commonly 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 is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Washington IA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Iowa board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Iowa 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Washington IA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one 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 need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course 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 other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Washington IA or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Iowa and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Washington IA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Washington IA 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Washington IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Washington IA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many Washington IA students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Washington IA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Washington Iowa 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.
Washington was founded in 1839 as the county seat of the newly established Washington County. In 1854 it became the home of a United Presbyterian College, which was dissolved in 1864. As of 2014, the town has celebrated its 175th anniversary, only 5 years behind the oldest city in Iowa, Dubuque, Iowa.
As of the census of 2010, there were 7,266 people, 3,048 households, and 1,861 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,476.8 inhabitants per square mile (570.2/km2). There were 3,301 housing units at an average density of 670.9 per square mile (259.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.5% White, 1.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.7% of the population.
There were 3,048 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.9% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.93.
Select the Right Nursing College near Washington IA
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Washington IA.
More Awesome Locations in Iowa