Nursing Schools Near Me | How to Become an RN – Westside IA

How to Pick a Nursing College near Westside Iowa

Westside IA surgical nurse assisting surgeonFinding the right nursing college near Westside IA may seem like a complex endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.

Registered Nurse Job Duties

Westside IA Neonatal Nurse with babyRegistered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including Westside IA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Educating patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Westside IA area.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive 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 might desire 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 generally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Iowa board of nursing for any state mandates.

LPN Certificates and Degrees

Westside IA LPN assisting patientThere are principally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests 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.

CNA Programs

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Westside IA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 minimal period of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.

What to Ask Nursing Schools

geriatric nurse with elderly patient in Westside IAOnce you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Westside IA or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Iowa and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Westside IA for non-accredited schools.
  • 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check 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 too. In addition, get in touch with the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Westside IA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 dissatisfied 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 Westside IA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with Westside IA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Nursing Online Classes

woman attending nursing school online in Westside IAEnrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some Westside IA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Attending a Nursing School near Westside IA?

Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Westside 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.

Westside, Iowa

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 299 people, 143 households, and 91 families residing in the city. The population density was 203.4 inhabitants per square mile (78.5/km2). There were 150 housing units at an average density of 102.0 per square mile (39.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.3% White, 0.3% from other races, and 0.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 143 households of which 21.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.4% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.60.

The median age in the city was 52.3 years. 17.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 16.8% were from 25 to 44; 29.8% were from 45 to 64; and 30.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

Select the Right Nursing College near Westside IA

Westside IA nursing studentDeciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Westside IA.

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